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How to Report a Foodborne Illness - General Public

How do I report a foodborne illness?

If you believe you or someone you know became ill from eating a certain food, please contact your county or city health department. Please refer to your state health department website to find more information about how to contact your local health department. Reporting illnesses to your local health department helps them identify potential foodborne disease outbreaks. By investigating foodborne disease outbreaks, public health officials learn about possible problems in food production, distribution and preparation that may cause illness.

How can I contact CDC about a foodborne illness?

Please call CDC INFO at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

What is the difference between CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)?

FDA and USDA regulate the safety of the food supply. They inspect food products, promulgate and enforce food safety regulations, test suspect foods, and work with industry to improve safety practices. While FDA is responsible for non-meat products such as seafood, fruits, vegetables and shell eggs, USDA oversees meat, poultry and processed egg products. Both agencies work extensively with state food regulatory partners.

CDC monitors human health by disease surveillance and by assisting states in outbreak investigations. CDC is a non-regulatory, scientific agency. It aims to provide credible information in order to enhance health decisions made by the regulatory agencies, professionals in the health sector, the food industry, as well as individuals. CDC’s scientific investigations may define new problems, and areas in need of more research. CDC’s mission is “to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability”. CDC works extensively with state, local and tribal health department partners. Learn more about CDC and its duties.

In regards to food, CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases (proposed) conducts surveillance for foodborne diseases, assists local and state health departments in their response to foodborne disease outbreaks, collects, organizes and publishes information on foodborne illnesses and outbreaks reported in the United States, maintains the national reference laboratories for foodborne pathogens, and develops new strategies for diagnosing and fingerprinting them.

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