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48 million get sick every year, less than 1% report it

3,000 people die

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Children are most at risk

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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

The Real Greek - Dulwich, Dulwich Village, London, UK

Report Type: Food Poisoning
Symptoms: Diarrhea Nausea
“The food itself seems to be ok however me and my partner got some level of food poisoning because of it.
We experienced diarrhea, stomach pain and since then everything we eat we are experiencing heartburn.
Something was very wrong with our food or the handling of it. our order:... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
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Teriyaki Experience, Campeau Drive, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Report Type: Food Poisoning
Symptoms: Diarrhea Fever Nausea Vomiting
“I went in to get a custom shrimp bowl. The man working offered me free tempura shrimp. I was given six. They definitely weren’t fresh. I’m not sure which item it was but I was vomiting for six consecutive hours. I ate at this location last night (9/18/2019) and became... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
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Szechuan Garden Chinese Restaurant, Chapman Highway, Knoxville, TN, USA

Report Type: Food Poisoning
Symptoms: Diarrhea Nausea
“We ate here Thursday, 9/12 and 3 out of 4 people in my party had symptoms of food poisoning 24 hours after eating at this restaurant. Severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, headache. It has been 72 hours since symptoms started and we are still sick.”
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
Helpful
Quick Answers Live Chat

Disneyland Park, Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA, USA

Report Type: Food Poisoning
Symptoms: Vomiting Nausea
“Not sure. We ate medederranian food in CA Adventure. Also a Mexican restraunt in down town Disney and Jamba Juice in Downtown Disney., Symptoms started last night...2am. Nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting. 5 sick”
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
Helpful

Burger King, Airport Road, Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA

Report Type: Food Poisoning
“My wife has eaten The Impossible Burger on two different occasions and has had severe stomach cramps for two days both times. , Nothing else happened. She has eaten the Impossible Burger from the same place three times and each time she has had severe stomach cramps. The pain starts... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
Helpful
|1 person found this review helpful

Tampines Central 5, The Old Malaya Café, Singapore

Report Type: Food Poisoning
Symptoms: Diarrhea
“Hi, myself and my daughter we have nonya Hokkien noodle, inside the noodle have fish cake and prawns, also popian, hot holick and hot tea with carnation milk, some green and red chilli. We ate at 4pm, around 7-30pm me and my daughter having stomach pain got diarrhoea for 5... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
Helpful
|1 person found this review helpful
Quick Answers Live Chat

Walmart Neighborhood Market, 401 E Sheridan St, Dania Beach, FL 33004, USA

Report Type: Food Poisoning
Symptoms: Nausea Fever Diarrhea
Turkey potpie, I only purchased one and brought it to my hotel room and cooked it,a couple hours later I started feeling nausea and had diarrhea and stomach cramps and then I got real light headed and felt like I was going to pass out and had fever and chills... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
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Bol, Croatia

Report Type: Food Poisoning
Symptoms: Diarrhea Nausea Vomiting
“Three adults and baby got all severely ill with 7 day aggressive diarrhea and vomiting. I feel like everywhere we ate, nobody cared what was served to us. People just cared about making money from selling whatever they had.”
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
Helpful

Taco Bell, 6815 Bandera Rd, San Antonio, TX, USA

Report Type: Food Poisoning
Symptoms: Diarrhea Fever Nausea Vomiting
“I ate on Friday, August 23, 2019. I ordered my food through the drive thru at 4:11pm. I ordered a chalupa cravings box with sour cream added to the taco and a cherry sunset frozen drink. I got home around 4:40pm and ate my food and almost immediately began experiencing... See More
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
Helpful
|1 person found this review helpful
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McDonald's, 7181 Cermak Rd, Berwyn, IL 60402, USA

Report Type: Food Poisoning
Symptoms: Diarrhea Nausea Vomiting
“Ate a quarter pounder with cheese, I'm the only one got sick, ate around 3: 30 pm on 9 -11 -19, and about 2 hours later my stomach was hurting bad,then I got really sick around 8:30 pm, with diarrhea, vomiting nausea,”
Reported By Iwaspoisoned.com User
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