Foodborne Illness

A resource for foodborne illness.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Is eating restaurant food riskier than cooking at home?

    Because you have more control over the food you prepare at home, if you practice safe food handling while preparing meals, you are probably less likely to contract a foodborne... Continue Reading
  • Q. What is the most effective way to wash my hands in order to get rid of germs?

    The USDA recommends that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap in warm water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to scrub under your fingernails, between your fingers, and... Continue Reading
  • Q. Could my food poisoning symptoms come from a restaurant I ate at a week ago?

    Yes, this is possible. If you have food poisoning symptoms, they are not necessarily from the meal you just ate. In fact, symptoms for the most common pathogens do not... Continue Reading
  • Q. If I have food poisoning, how do I report my case?

    The majority of foodborne illness cases go unreported. If you think you have contracted a foodborne illness, you should see a doctor so that he or she can confirm your... Continue Reading
  • Q. How do I find out whether a restaurant has a history of serving contaminated food?

    Environmental health practitioners from local health departments routinely conduct restaurant inspections. The results of these inspections can be found on your local health department’s website, or by contacting the department... Continue Reading
  • Q. Am I taking a risk by eating vegetables such as tomatoes and spinach raw?

    There is always a slight risk of contamination when eating raw foods. However, you can reduce the risk of illness from these foods by washing them thoroughly before you eat... Continue Reading
  • Q. Is it safe to cook raw meat and vegetables together in the same pan at the same time?

    Yes, this is a safe method of cooking, as long as everything in the pan is fully cooked before eating. Continue Reading
  • Q. If I have food poisoning, how long should it last?

    Depending on the type of foodborne illness you have, and your personal biology, symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. You can look up duration... Continue Reading
  • Q. What is pasteurization? Once something has been pasteurized, can I eat it uncooked?

    Pasteurization is a heat treatment applied to dairy products and juice in order to kill potentially dangerous pathogens. A product’s label will tell you whether or not the product has... Continue Reading
  • Q. I like my steak medium rare. Am I putting myself in danger by eating undercooked beef?

    Beef that is not well-done can still be safe. It is important to make sure that the internal temperature of the mean reaches 145°F for whole pieces of meat. For... Continue Reading
  • Q. What is the difference between a bacterial foodborne illness and a viral one?

    While bacterial and viral infections often share the same symptoms, they are two very different types of pathogens. A bacterium is a single-celled organism that which causes illness when ingested... Continue Reading
  • Q. What is foodborne illness and what are the symptoms?

    Foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning, can be caused by a variety of microbes such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. Harmful toxins or chemicals present in food also... Continue Reading
  • Q. If my child or I have diarrhea, should I see a doctor?

    You should see a health care provider if your diarrhea lasts more than a day or two, if you have severe abdominal pain, or if you have a fever of... Continue Reading
  • Q. What are the causes of diarrhea?

    Diarrhea – loose, watery stools occurring more than three times in one day – is a common problem. There are many causes of diarrhea. Temporary diarrhea lasting three weeks or... Continue Reading
  • Q. What is the stomach flu?

    Many people use the term “stomach flu” or “24-hour flu” to describe symptoms of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Although these symptoms can be related to illness caused by influenza viruses... Continue Reading
  • Q. My doctor said I had "acute gastroenteritis". What does this mean?

    Technically, gastroenteritis refers to irritation of the stomach and intestines. Health care providers frequently use "gastroenteritis" or “acute gastroenteritis” as nonspecific terms to describe diarrheal illness suspected to be caused... Continue Reading

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If you have questions about foodborne illness, your rights or the legal process, we’d be happy to answer them for you.