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Food Poisoning / Foodborne Illness

Each year, thousands of New York City residents become sick from consuming foods or drinks that are contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses or parasites.  The most common sources of food poisoning include raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, shellfish and unpasteurized milk.  Fruits and vegetables may become contaminated if they are handled or processed in facilities that are not kept clean, if they come into contact with contaminated fertilizer, or if they are watered or washed with contaminated water.

Contamination may also occur if food is incorrectly handled by an infected food worker or if it touches other, contaminated food.

The symptoms, onset and length of illness depend on the type of microbe, and how much of it is swallowed.  Symptoms usually include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.  If you suspect you became sick after eating or drinking a contaminated item, call 311 or submit an online complaint form.

Call your doctor if you experience a high fever (over 101.5°F), blood in stool, prolonged vomiting, dehydration, or diarrhea for more than three days.

For tips on preventing foodborne illness, visit the Food Safety pages listed below.

Types of Food-Related Illnesses:

Related Resources
311 Online Complaint Form: Food Poisoning
NYC DOHMH. Food and Drinking Water Safety
NYC DOHMH. Food Service Operators and Owners
NYC DOHMH. Food Matters Newsletter.  Available via ‘Publications’ search.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food Safety Office. Food Safety.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Using Online Reviews by Restaurant Patrons to Identify Unreported Cases of Foodborne Illness — New York City, 2012–2013. May 23, 2014 / 63(20); 441-445.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Ciguatera Fish Poisoning — New York City, 2010–2011. February 1, 2013 / 62(04); 61-65.