Food-borne Illness

Do you suspect you have food poisoning?

Contact Southwestern Public Health at 1-800-922-0096 to report a complaint.

What is a food-borne illness?

Food-borne illness is caused by consuming food or water contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins or chemicals.

The contaminated food that made you sick will not taste, look or smell different. Also, the symptoms may not appear immediately after you eat the contaminated food.

Some of the common symptoms of food-borne illness are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Fever

Food-borne illness becomes a high risk for certain groups of people such as the elderly, pregnant women, infants, and people with weakened immune systems.

Food-borne illness can be caused due to improper food handling practices such as:

  • Lack of proper hand washing
  • Cross-contamination of raw and ready-to-eat food items
  • Improper cooking and reheating of food items
  • Improper cooling of hazardous food items
  • Improper defrosting of food items
  • Poor food handler hygiene
  • Food prepared by a sick food handler

Safe food handling practices (click on it will open the page for Food Safety at Home section) can prevent foodborne illness.

Characteristics of a food-borne illness


Other resources: