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How Do I Report Food Poisoning?

Lainie Petersen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The process to report food poisoning depends on reporting laws where you live and whether you seek medical attention. In many jurisdictions, local health departments offer several ways of reporting food poisoning, including the ability to file reports online or by telephone. Health and safety laws may require physicians and other health care professionals to report food poisoning cases as well. When you file a report, you may be asked for detailed information about your case, so it is often wise to have pertinent details, such as the name and phone number of the restaurant or store from which you purchased contaminated food, written down for reference while you make the report.

Food poisoning is the result of eating food that has been contaminated with certain types of bacteria. In many cases, food poisoning triggers only mild symptoms of digestive upset, and many people ignore these symptoms or attribute them to other causes. More severe cases of food poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, and even a fever. In more severe cases, people may contact their physician for assistance and advice. Untreated severe food poisoning can lead to dehydration and death, particularly in children, the elderly, and those who are already ill.

In the United States, you can typically report food poisoning to your county or city health department. If you seek medical attention, your doctor or a nurse may report your case on your behalf. Health departments are often concerned about food poisoning that may be the result of poor sanitation and hygiene standards at restaurants and grocery stores. As such, you may be contacted about your case so that the health department can follow up with the restaurant or store to determine whether the business is responsible for the food poisoning. If the business is responsible, the health department may close the business down or require it to take steps to improve the safety of its food.

In other countries, the process to report food poisoning may differ. In the United Kingdom, you are asked to report food poisoning to your local environmental health department. Your physician is required by law to file a report about your condition if you seek medical attention. If you are confused about whom to contact, you may wish to ask the staff at your doctor's office about the agency to which your doctor must report food poisoning cases. Another option is to contact your country's national health services agency and ask about what you should do to report your case.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Lainie Petersen
By Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an editor. With a unique educational background, she crafts engaging content and hosts podcasts and radio shows, showcasing her versatility as a media and communication professional. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any media organization.
Discussion Comments
By anon230884 — On Nov 21, 2011

My son has been vomiting all day and feeling sick. his stomach has now swelled up. What would this be?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an...
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