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Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illness (also called food poisoning, foodborne disease, or foodborne infection) is a common, costly – yet preventable – public health problem. Each year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Many different disease-causing microbes, or pathogens, can contaminate foods, so there are many different foodborne infections. In addition, poisonous chemicals, or other harmful substances can cause foodborne diseases if they are present in food.

Common Causes of Foodborne Illness

Whenever someone believes they have become ill from eating food, the health department wants to know about it.  This information helps us track trends in our community and assist in preventing further incidences of foodborne illness. 

When evaluating a potential foodborne illness, information of interest includes: 

  • exact time of incidence of symptoms
  • symptoms
  • food items ate at least three days prior to onset
  • others who may be experiencing similar symptoms
  • clinical evaluation
  • locations where you have eaten, etc.

If you have severe symptoms or have experienced bloody diarrhea, please seek medical attention immediately.

If you believe you have become ill from eating food, please call 509-725-2501 and our staff will be happy to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. We are not able to diagnose.