Eating Safely

Frequently Asked Questions

18. What should I do if I think I have a foodborne illness?

If you think you have a foodborne illness, you should take these steps.

  1. Contact your doctor or health care provider. Seek medical treatment as necessary. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that if consumers have questions about foodborne illnesses, they should contact CDC’s 24-hr/7-days a week hotline: 1-800-232-4636.
  2. Preserve the food in question. Wrap it securely, label it "Danger," and then freeze it. The food may be used to diagnose your illness and prevent others from getting sick.
  3. Save all packaging materials, such as cans or cartons. Write down the food, the date and time consumed, and save any identical unopened products.
  4. Report the contaminated food to the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854. To report a suspected problem with a food, consumers should call FDA Consumer Complaint coordinator in their state. A complete list can be found at:
  5. Call your local county or city health department if you think you became ill from food you ate at a local restaurant or other eating establishment so they can investigate.