Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reporting Cases of Food Poisoning

You and your friends go to a restaurant together, and the next day all of you are sick with what appears to be food poisoning. To whom should you report it?

You can start by contacting the restaurant if you wish. If it’s a responsible restaurant they should want to hear from you so that it can do its best to correct the problem. But don’t expect the restaurant to go any farther than that. In most states, the restaurant is not required to report incidences of food poisoning to any regulatory authority. Nor is the restaurant required to warn the public. Reporting is entirely voluntary.

So there’s the message. If you want your suspected case of food poisoning to be noted officially, you should report it to your local or state health department. They may, depending on the nature of your complaint, follow through with an investigation, and if they find that the restaurant is not in compliance with food preparation and handling regulations, they can take corrective action. At the very least, your report will become part of their disease surveillance statistics.

Just don’t count on the restaurant to do it for you. It’s not in their best interest.

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