Food Safety & Inspection

Foodborne Illness

Protecting you and your family from foodborne illness

What is foodborne illness?

Any illness that is caused by consuming contaminated foods or beverages is considered a foodborne illness. Many different disease-causing pathogens can contaminate foods, so there are many different types of foodborne illnesses. Most foodborne illnesses are infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Other illnesses are poisonings caused by harmful toxins or chemicals that have contaminated food. Foodborne illness usually arises from improper food handling, preparation, or storage; or poor hygiene practices before, during, and after food preparation. Illness may be caused by foods prepared at home or in a licensed food facility. Foodborne illness is common and costly, but it is preventable.

Symptoms of Foodborne Illness

Common symptoms of foodborne illness are diarrhea and/or vomiting, which typically last 1 to 7 days. Other symptoms include abdominal cramps, jaundice (yellow skin color), nausea, fever, body aches, and fatigue. The incubation period—the time between exposure to the disease-causing pathogen and when symptoms begin—can range from several hours to 1 week or more.

Preventing Foodborne Illness

 In addition to conducting routine inspections of licensed food facilities, Morrow County Health District investigates possible cases of foodborne illness by collecting and evaluating food histories from affected people, collecting samples for testing, and conducting inspections of food facilities that may be involved. Investigations help us discover and correct problems that could cause illness and prevent future illness from occurring. You can help by reporting illnesses you suspect might be foodborne.

Reporting a Possible Foodborne Illness

We take all complaints regarding food safety and foodborne illness seriously. If you believe that you became ill from something you ate we would like to know. You will be asked about the illness you experienced, factors (both food and non-food) that may have caused your illness, and a 72-hour food history. Contrary to popular belief, the last food that was eaten before symptoms began may not have been the cause of the illness.

Please call 419-947-1545 to report possible foodborne illness.

Licensed Food Facilities

Food employees, managers or persons-in-charge, and owners should consider all reports of possible foodborne illness legitimate. Employees should direct all such calls to the manager or person in charge immediately. Use these guidelines as a reference when gathering information related to a possible foodborne illness.

  1. Write down:
    • Date and time of call
    • Name, address and phone number of person calling
    • Name of each person that became ill and symptoms
    • What foods and/or drinks each person consumed
    • What time of day the meal was eaten
    • Other information that seems important
  2. Notify Morrow County Health District of reports of possible foodborne illness immediately by calling 419-947-1545.
  3. Preserve suspect leftover food. Label container with contents and date. Store the samples in a refrigerator.
  4. Look at your food flow carefully. Put any needed corrective measures in place.
  5. Prevent foodborne illness
    • Exclude ill employees from food preparation and service activities.
    • Practice good personal hygiene including proper handwashing and do not allow bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.
    • Keep time/temperature controlled for safety (TCS) foods out of the temperature danger zone (41°F-135°F).
    • Take precautions against cross-contamination.
To view Food Inspection reports, click here.