Fever, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea: is it a stomach bug or a foodborne illness? You have an important role to play if you suspect that you or a family member has gotten sick after eating a meal or snack. It is possible that there are others who are sick as well and that a true foodborne illness outbreak has occurred. Remember, if the illness is so severe that you want to report it, you should call your doctor, too. Foodborne illness is serious and can be very dangerous, even life-threatening, to some people.
In Connecticut, if you wish to file a complaint about a foodservice establishment or report an illness that appears to be associated with food, contact your local health department first. If you are unsure of the name or location of your local health department, call the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Food Protection Program at (860) 509-7297 and they will help you. You can also visit the Local Health Department page on the web site (see link below) for a listing of all local Directors of Health in Connecticut. If necessary, the local health department will contact the State Health Department for assistance or direction. If you are unable to contact your local health department, call the Food Protection Program directly.
If you suspect the illness came from a food or beverage that you still have in your home, keep a sample in the freezer, clearly marked so that no one else will eat or drink it. Also, keep the container, wrapper or label from the product. Try to be exact about the date and place you consumed the suspected food and where you bought the food.
Sometimes, the State Department of Public Health will call upon federal agencies to help when investigating an outbreak, or when recalling food products. These agencies include:
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) - responsible for ensuring the safety, wholesomeness and accurate labeling of meat, poultry and egg products.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-responsible for ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of foods other than meat, poultry and eggs.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)-responsible for monitoring the rates of foodborne diseases in the U.S., investigating outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, and facilitating efforts to prevent foodborne disease.
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