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What is food poisoning

What is food poisoning and how you can get it

Food poisoning is common, costly and preventable. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food every year.

It can happen after food has been adulterated with physical, chemical and biological contaminants -- or any combination of those. Physical can include such products as rubber or glass; chemical can include such toxins as bleach and mercury; and biological can include many types of bacteria, viruses or parasites.

Food can be contaminated before it reaches a grocery store or home kitchen, and sometimes those who prepare food at a restaurant can pass along norovirus – the germ that is the leading cause of foodborne disease outbreaks worldwide.  

Examples of contamination in preparation

  • If a food worker stays on the job while sick and does not wash his or her hands carefully, the food worker can spread germs by touching food.
  • If a cook uses a cutting board or knife to cut raw chicken and then uses the same items somewhere else in the kitchen, other food could be contaminated by germs from the chicken.
  • Contamination can occur in a refrigerator if liquids from meat or chicken get on items that will be eaten raw.

 

Mishandling at multiple points

Food can be mishandled in several ways along the food production chain. Once contamination occurs, further mishandling, such as undercooking the food or leaving it out on the counter at an unsafe temperature, can make a foodborne illness more likely. Many germs grow quickly in food held at room temperature; a tiny number can grow to a large number in just a few hours. Reheating or boiling food after it has been left at room temperature for a long time does not always make it safe because some germs produce toxins that are not destroyed by heat.

 

How to tell if you have food poisoning?

Food poisoning signs and symptoms may range from mild to severe and can differ significantly depending of the contaminant, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most common ways on how to know if you have food poisoning are:

  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

After you consume a contaminated food or drink -- especially if it is a chemical contaminant -- you may show symptoms of poisoning immediately. With some biological contaminants, it may take hours or days before you develop symptoms of food poisoning.

 

What causes food poisoning?

Food can be mishandled in several ways along the food production chain, all of which can result in food poisoning. Once contamination occurs, further mishandling, such as undercooking the food or leaving it out on the counter at an unsafe temperature, can make a foodborne illness more likely. Many germs grow quickly in food held at room temperature; a tiny number can grow to a large number in just a few hours. Reheating or boiling food after it has been left at room temperature for a long time does not always make it safe because some germs produce toxins that are not destroyed by heat.

  • If a food worker stays on the job while sick and does not wash his or her hands carefully, the food worker can spread germs by touching food.
  • If a cook uses a cutting board or knife to cut raw chicken and then uses the same items somewhere else in the kitchen, other food could be contaminated by germs from the chicken.
  • Contamination can occur in a refrigerator if liquids from meat or chicken get on items that will be eaten raw.

 

For more information about:

Recalled Food

If you have food poisoning and want to check recently recalled foods, please visit these pages:

Recalls by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Recalls by the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Current Multistate Food Poisoning Outbreaks

Here is a list of current multistate foodborne illness outbreaks.

When two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a foodborne or food poisoning outbreak. Reporting illnesses to your local health department helps them identify potential outbreaks of foodborne disease. Public health officials investigate outbreaks to control them, so more people do not get sick in the outbreak, and to learn how to prevent similar outbreaks from happening in the future.

Back to Learn

Recent Interesting Reports

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Daniels Road, Winter Garden, FL, USA

Tipo de Reporte: Intoxicaciуn Alimentaria
Sнntomas: Diarrhea Nausea Vomiting
“My 12 year old daughter had the veggie bowl around 4 pm yesterday. She had nothing else to eat/ drink a few hours before it and only the usually healthy organic foods prepared at home the earlier hours of the day. She is home sick today and her stomach hurts... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
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McDonald's, 8750 W 135th St, Overland Park, KS 66223, USA

Tipo de Reporte: Intoxicaciуn Alimentaria
Sнntomas: Diarrhea Nausea Vomiting
chicken nuggets, along with Mc griddle sausage, egg and cheese sandwich, We, altogether 3 had breakfast on October 12th morning. My husband and daughter had McGriddle sandwiches. I had 4 piece chicken nuggets along with the Mc Griddle sandwich. Hence, I believe it’s the nuggets that caused the food poisoning... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
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Burger King, Sibley Boulevard, Dolton, IL, USA

Tipo de Reporte: Intoxicaciуn Alimentaria
Sнntomas: Diarrhea Nausea Vomiting
“I received free burger from T-Mobile Tuesdays app. Sunday September 29 I ordered Impossible Burger. Went to sleep about three hours after eating it. I woke up in the middle of the night with upset stomach and feeling nauseous. I went to the bathroom and had diarrhea and started vomiting... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
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|3 people found this review helpful

MESA Filipino Moderne Cuisine, Ortigas Center, Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines

Tipo de Reporte: Intoxicaciуn Alimentaria
Sнntomas: Diarrhea Nausea
“We were eating for about 20 minutes already. We have eaten half of the crispy pata already.
When I grabbed a certain part, I noticed an unusual object on the part that I grabbed. It appears to be a dead small cockroach. I took a photo as a proof.

I... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
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Texas de Brazil, International Drive, Orlando, FL, USA

Tipo de Reporte: Intoxicaciуn Alimentaria
Sнntomas: Diarrhea Nausea Vomiting
“Food there, Had buffet dinner at 6:30-7:30pm on Saturday October 19th 2019. I started feeling nauseous around 11:30pm and started vomiting with diarrhea at 1am all night so far. My husband woke up with diarrhea and vomiting at 4am.”
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
Helpful
|1 person found this review helpful

ASDA, UK

Tipo de Reporte: Seguridad Alimentaria
“becarefull when buying chicken! because I was served RAW chicken, since this, I've been back to the store AND spoken to 3 different people on Twitter, all of which have given a shitty response. Incompetent throughout.”
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
Helpful

McDonald’s Blvd. Luis Donaldo Colosio Mz. 5 Lote 2 Sm. 310, SM 310,, 77500 Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Tipo de Reporte: Intoxicaciуn Alimentaria
Sнntomas: Diarrhea Nausea Vomiting
“We bought 3 meals last night (9/23/2019) at about 8:00pm. I ate French fries and soft drink, my son had Fried, drink and hamburger. I vomited at around 12:30am, 1:00am and 3:00am. My son vomited four time after 3:00am, emptying everything in his stomach. We also got diarrhea a few... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
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Viandas de Salamanca S.L, Calle de la Montera, Madrid, Spain

Tipo de Reporte: Intoxicaciуn Alimentaria
Sнntomas: Diarrhea Fever Nausea Vomiting
“I ate a ham and cheese sandwich with Olive oil. Within an hour and a half I felt nauseous. And then watery diarrhea and vomiting like ten times. It was the worst experience in my life. I’ll never eat here again”
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
Helpful
|1 person found this review helpful

Mical Foods recalls Yellowfin Tuna products over Scombroid concerns

Tipo de Reporte: Other
“Mical Foods issued a recall of frozen, wild-caught yellowfin tuna products such as, Tuna Loins, Tuna Poke, Tuna Steaks, Tuna Ground Meat, and Tuna Saku because of potentially elevated levels of histamine, which may produce an allergic reaction called Scombroid fish poisoning.

FDA advises consumers who received products with the... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
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Little Caesars Pizza, Tulare Street, Fresno, CA, USA

Tipo de Reporte: Intoxicaciуn Alimentaria
Sнntomas: Fever Vomiting
“I ate two slices of pizza the day before yesterday and today I’ve been vomiting all day. Anything I eat I vomit right up. I have stomach cramps and got a fever. Also my little brother got sick right after he ate the pizza but mine was a day after... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
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