Finding odd things in your food, particularly the packaged variety, may seem humorous to people who read about it, but if you are the one with fingernails in your frozen pizza, it's a traumatic experience. In some instances, you may be harmed physically and emotionally. If you do fall victim to this type of food pollution, you may have recourse to legal action.

Food Production

Packaged foods go through a long process that involves many people and numerous steps. As a result, some contamination problems are inevitable. Hair, dirt, and other debris may end up in your can of green beans. These issues are relatively minor. Finding glass and other harmful substances is a more serious issue that can cause you physical damage.

Legal Action

You have probably read about many spectacular cases where people found items in their food and sued the manufacturer, in some cases winning a large amount of money. You may have legal recourse if you bite into a foreign object in your food, but you must meet certain legal standards before a lawyer will take your case. First, you have to determine responsibility for the object. Food goes through many hands before it makes its way to you at home or in a restaurant. The packing company, wholesaler, or restaurant staff could be at fault. If you cannot figure out how the object got into your food, you do not have a case.

If you can establish responsibility, you then have to demonstrate that you suffered damage. In most instances, a restaurant or store will refund your money for any faulty food items. If you ate the food and became sick or injured, you could try and recoup your medical bills, lost time from work, and emotional distress. If you were only inconvenienced and a little repulsed, you do not have a strong case and will be unlikely to find a lawyer.

Some people have actually planted objects in their food in the hopes of getting a large judgment against the business or manufacturer. This practice is against the law and likely to be unsuccessful anyway. If you truly suffer physical injury or sickness due to a foreign object in your meal, consulting a lawyer is a wise move. Otherwise, speak with a manager and get your money back for the food item in question. You will just be wasting time and potentially money if you try and escalate the situation.