Last week, Kellogg’s Company recalled boxes of Honey Smacks cereal due to salmonella outbreak fears. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 73 people have the outbreak in 31 states. Twenty-four people are in hospitals. No one is reported dead.

The CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and public health officials are investigating the potential cause of the outbreak. They are also asking anyone who bought the cereal to return it for a full refund or just throw it away. Hopefully, recalling the cereal will help others avoid getting sick from potentially unsafe food.

However, there are product liability laws on the books in the United States, and certain parties can be accountable if a defective or dangerous product causes injury or illness. This may be of interest to people who get hurt or sick by a defective product prior to a recall.

Liable parties could include product retailers, producers, suppliers and others. Identifying the liable party begins with identifying the defect.

Types of defects

There can be manufacturing defects, which happen when the product is made. In this case, an investigation is underway for the third-party company that makes the Honey Smacks cereal.

Marketing defects occur when there are problems with the product’s branding or instructions. For example, there may not be adequate safety warnings listed.

A defect with the product’s design means that the design is unsafe from the start.

Understand the legal options

Consumers should be able to expect that they are buying safe products, and this includes cereal. If a product is unsafe or defective and causes injury, then it can warrant an examination of your options for filing a product liability claim. With legal action, those affected by a hazardous product can pursue compensation and hold the accountable party responsible.