Food Poisoning and Food Safety Resources
Food poisoning happens when people eat foods containing harmful bacteria that contaminate food products. Then, they get sick. Proper food safety techniques are the best way to prevent food poisoning. The U.S. government has numerous online resources to help you avoid foodborne illness and report it if you become ill from food.
This article answers questions about food poisoning and what to do if you get sick. It also offers links to food safety information and tips.
Official Food Safety Agencies
There are excellent resources online for information on food recalls and food poisoning. Several non-profits and government agencies provide the public with updated information on foodborne illness and food safety tips. Some sites also allow you to search for products the FDA has recalled. So, you'll know to return or throw these items away.
Some of the agencies that provide these resources include:
- Food Safety: This is an online service offered by the U.S. government that updates the public on how to prepare and store food safely. FoodSafety.gov also provides details on recent food product recalls.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Visit the CDC to find fast facts about food poisoning.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA): The FDA offers several sites that educate the public on food poisoning. Visit their webpage on foodborne pathogens to learn how to avoid food contamination.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): You can visit the USDA website to find questions about food poisoning. This page also offers information on the things that cause food poisoning. This agency also provides interesting information on safe nutrition.
Of course, this list is incomplete. You can visit Findlaw.com for many other helpful resources on food poisoning. Accessibility to this information is critical to treating and preventing food poisoning.
How To Get Medical Attention for Food Poisoning
You must know what to do if your loved one contracts a foodborne illness. If you don't take the proper steps, your condition can worsen to the point where you require hospitalization.
The first thing you should do is gauge the severity of your illness. If your symptoms resemble a minor case of the stomach flu, you can treat it at home with over-the-counter medications. But if your sickness is severe, go to the local emergency room. The doctors will let you know the severity of your food poisoning and the best course of treatment.
If one of your children or family members ingests poison, the first thing to do is call poison control. From there, you would take your child to the hospital or call an ambulance immediately.
How To Report a Food Poisoning Outbreak
If you learn of a food poisoning outbreak, alert your local department of health. This is especially true for pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems. You can also post about it on social media. It's where most people go for breaking news.
But be careful about what you say. You don't want to name the wrong business or grocery chain—it could land you in hot water legally. Also, remember that posting on social media doesn't mean you shouldn't contact the authorities. They'll do the best job of protecting public health. They'll also help you investigate the cause.
What To Do if You Get Sick After Eating at a Restaurant or Dining Establishment
Food safety is in everyone's best interests, but food poisoning can strike at any time. Consider speaking with a qualified attorney if you believe food from the grocery store made you sick or you became sick after eating out at a restaurant.
If your illness is severe, you may need to pursue legal action. Perhaps your personal injury lawyer will sue the grocery store where you bought the food. Or you may need to file a claim against the owners of a restaurant or pub where you ate contaminated food. Once your attorney reviews your case, they'll let you know how best to proceed.
Below are links to helpful resources related to food poisoning and food safety tips for preventing food poisoning.
Resources To Prevent Food Poisoning
The best way to avoid food poisoning is to practice safe food handling and preparation techniques. Once you know how food becomes contaminated, it's easier to avoid foods that will make you sick.
You must also be careful when traveling abroad. The CDC issues specific food warnings for different countries. Before you go, knowing what precautions to take to be food-safe and how to get healthcare abroad is essential.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- CDC Food Safety Office: The CDC's Food Safety section home page includes links to state-specific outbreak alerts, ways to avoid food poisoning, and more
- Foodborne Illness FAQs: Answers to frequently asked questions about foodborne illnesses
- Infectious Disease Information on Food Related Diseases: An A-to-Z guide to foodborne illnesses, with links to more in-depth information
- Food Safety and Irradiation: Protecting the Public From Foodborne Infections: Answers to common questions about the irradiation of food, a controversial method of killing disease-causing organisms. It involves treating food with ionizing radiation to kill bacteria and parasites that would otherwise cause foodborne disease
- How To Report a Foodborne Illness: Provides links for the general public to report suspected food poisoning to your local or state health department. It also provides the CDC reporting number of 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)
- Travelers' Health: Safe Food and Water: Portal to help you determine the precautions to take when traveling to specific countries and for particular purposes
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Food Safety Education Center: Smartphone apps and printable fact sheets about foodborne illness and tips on food poisoning prevention
- Food Safety Fact Sheets: Collection of food safety fact sheets with advice on preparing meat and poultry, information about food labeling, and more
- Ask a Food Safety Question: This is an interactive site for questions about food safety from the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
- Food Defense and Emergency Response: Information for consumers and owners of food facilities about how to maintain food safety during emergencies. It also provides information on food defense or protection from intentional harm by biological, chemical, or radiological agents
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- FDA Food Section: Links to all the FDA food-related sections, including alerts, recalls, fact sheets, and other food safety resources
- Consumer Advice and Publications: Links to consumer advisories, information for specific groups such as women and kids, and other food-related guides and resources for consumers
- "Bad Bug Book": Basic Facts on Foodborne Pathogens and Toxins: The FDA's definitive guide to the most notorious kinds of organisms that cause food poisoning, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.