Can Alcoholic Beverages Cause Food Poisoning?

Not all instances of food poisoning are the result of eating contaminated food. Dietary supplements and beverages can contain harmful bacteria that can cause an individual to suffer from illnesses like listeriosis, salmonellosis, norovirus, and botulism. Alcoholic beverages are a bit different than other types of beverage because they are fermented and distilled, which kills any harmful bacteria contained within the liquid. This does not mean that is is impossible to become ill after consuming an alcoholic beverage. It is possible to suffer from food poisoning because of harmful bacteria in the non-alcoholic ingredients mixed into a cocktail, such as contracting listeriosis after consuming a White Russian made with cream that had not been properly refrigerated. It is also possible to contract harmful bacteria because of the way a beverage is packaged.

Botulism and Other Dangers in Alcoholic Beverages

Botulism is a rare type of food poisoning, but when it occurs, it can be fatal. It is often associated with canned food products.

In 2011, a botulism outbreak in Utah was linked to illicitly-produced alcohol in a prison. Eight individuals who consumed the beverage had to be hospitalized. This is not the only case of botulism linked to poorly-made alcohol in the United States, but it is one of the more prominent cases. Do not consume homemade hard alcohol, commonly known as “moonshine,” because it can contain the deadly compound methanol.

Alcohol Poisoning is Not the Same as Food Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is the condition that occurs when an individual consumes too much alcohol within a short time frame. The amount of alcohol that causes an individual to suffer from alcohol poisoning varies according to his or her weight, tolerance level, and rate of alcohol consumption. It is not caused by harmful bacteria within the alcohol itself.

Drinking Alcohol will Not Cure Your Food Poisoning

Although there is evidence to suggest that consuming alcohol with a meal can reduce the drinker’s chance of suffering from food poisoning, consuming alcohol after symptoms have appeared will not make them go away. In fact, consuming alcohol while suffering from the effects of food poisoning can make symptoms, particularly dehydration, worse.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Irregular breathing;
  • Vomiting;
  • Passing out;
  • Blue or pale skin;
  • Low body temperature; and
  • Seizures.

Alcohol poisoning is more than simply being drunk. It is a medical condition that can have severe, even deadly, consequences. If you are with somebody who exhibits any of the above symptoms of alcohol poisoning, seek medical attention for him or her right away.

Work with an Experienced Palatine Food Poisoning Lawyer

If you are facing high medical bills and other expenses after suffering from food poisoning, you could be entitled to recover compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more about seeking compensation for food poisoning damages, schedule a consultation with our team of food poisoning lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.

(image courtesy of Janko Ferlic)

  • Newland & Newland LLP, Attorneys, Arlington Heights, IL
  • Lawyer.com