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Foodborne Illness and Illness Prevention

Learn More About Foodborne Illness

  • CDC estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. 
  • Foodborne illness (Food Poisoning) is an illness suspected to have resulted from consuming foods or beverages. 
  • There are over 250 organisms that can cause foodborne illness. 
  • Although signs and symptoms of foodborne illnesses vary, the most common symptoms are vomiting, abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. 
  • Most cases of foodborne illness are single cases and are not associated with large outbreaks. 
  • The last meal consumed does not necessarily cause foodborne illness. 
  • We do not always know if an intestinal illness is caused by food. 
  • For Environmental Health to respond to reports of suspected foodborne illnesses, accurate and complete information from the person(s) involved is needed. 
  • CDC video on Environmental Health Services - Explaining How Foodborne illnesses spread and are investigated


How To Report Foodborne Illness in Orange County, California 

Foodborne illness complaints can be reported over the phone at (714) 433-6418 or online File a Foodborne Illness Complaint. Information provided is confidential and is not given to the food operator or any other third party. If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1.

How to Report Foodborne Illness in Surrounding Jurisdictions:


Food Safety: Information for Consumers 

  • Food Safety Myths – HOW TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS SAFE. What are the things you should not do in your own kitchen?  
  • Spotlight on Norovirus 
  • Federal Food Safety Information – LATEST FOOD SAFETY NEWS 
  • Back to School Lunch Safety: Children are at greater risk for food poisoning because their immune systems are still developing. Help prevent food poisoning and follow these tips when preparing food for your family. (Picture linking to CDC pamphlet on food safety)   


Food Safety: Information for Commercial Food Preparers 


Food Safety Recall "Widget" 

A food recall occurs when there is reason to believe that a food may cause consumers to become ill. A food manufacturer or distributor initiates the recall to take foods off the market. In some situations, food recalls are requested by government agencies (USDA or FDA).

Some reasons for recalling food include:

  • Discovery of an organism in a product that may make consumers sick 
  • Discovery of a potential allergen in a product 
  • Mislabeling or misbranding of food. For example, a food may contain an allergen, such as nuts or eggs, but those ingredients do not appear on the label. 

Click here to access the widget provided by the Department of Health & Human Services.


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