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Food Poisoning Reporting and Facts

There are many causes of foodborne illness, such as:

  • Improperly cooked food
  • Improperly stored food
  • Contamination of food by ill food preparer
  • Contamination of food by other contaminated food
  • Contamination of food from environmental sources (dirt, animal feces)

Some foods commonly have bacteria on them when purchased. This is why raw or undercooked chicken can be dangerous.

The risk of exposure to food borne bacteria and viruses can occur in the home, in restaurants and at community meals like a church supper.

Simple Ways to Protect Yourself from Foodborne Illnesses

Wash your hands
  1. Wash your hands before preparing food.
  2. Wash your hands after handling foods that may contain bacteria, like raw chicken or other meat.
  3. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
Keep hot foods HOT
  1. Cook foods adequately.
  2. Keep them hot until served.
Keep cold foods COLD
  1. Keep cold foods cold.
  2. Cool hot foods quickly for storage in the refrigerator or freezer.
  3. Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator
Don't cross contaminate foods
  1. Keep high risk foods like raw meat away from other foods, especially if those foods will not be cooked further.
  2. Wash all utensils (knives, cutting boards) that have been in contact with high risk foods with soap and water.
IMPORTANT: Don't prepare food for others when you are ill with diarrhea, vomiting or other illness that can be spread via food

Reporting a possible foodborne illness

If you think you got sick eating food, call Public Health Madison & Dane County 266-4821.

Be prepared to talk about the following:
  • Symptoms
  • When did symptoms start?
  • Where do you think you got sick and when did you eat there?
  • Did anyone else share the meal?
  • Did anyone else get sick?
  • 72-hour food history

Disclosure: Sometimes We Cannot Determine What Caused the Illness.

Reasons to call:
Help identify the situation where food was not handled safely and prevent other people from getting sick. Get advice on how to protect yourself and your family.

food-related reportable communicable diseases

  • Amebiasis
  • Campylobacteriosis enterosis
  • Giardiasis
  • Hepatitis, viral type A
  • Salmonellosis
  • Shigellosis
Key Contacts
If you think you got sick eating food, call:
(608) 266-4821
or use our
Online Complaint Form