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Foodborne Illness

Each year one in six Americans gets foodborne illness – also called food poisoning – through contaminated foods or beverages. Common symptoms of the more than 250 different kinds of foodborne illnesses include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Individuals at greater risk of getting severe infections from foodborne illnesses include:

  • Pregnant women;
  • Older Pennsylvanians;
  • Those with weakened immune systems; and
  • Bottle fed infants.

Prevent Foodborne Illness

  • Using a food thermometer to make sure food is cooked enough to kill bacteria;
  • Not cross contaminating one food with another by always keeping foods separated;
  • Always refrigerating leftover foods if they won't be eaten within four hours;
  • Cleaning fruits and vegetables by running them under tap water to remove visible dirt;
  • Removing and throwing away the outermost leaves of lettuce or cabbage;
  • Always washing your hands with soap and water before preparing food;
  • Never preparing food for others if you have a diarrheal illness;
  • Never changing a baby's diaper while preparing food as this can spread illness; and
  • Reporting any suspected foodborne illness to your local or state health department.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health works to control and prevent foodborne illnesses through strong partnerships with other local, state and federal agencies. PADOH follows foodborne illness guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and investigates outbreaks and sporadic cases.

Common Foodborne Diseases

  • Amebiasis
  • Anthrax
  • Botulism
  • Brucellosis
  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Cholera
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Escherichia Coli 0157
  • Giardiasis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Listeriosis
  • Norovirus
  • Raw Milk
  • Salmonellosis
  • Shigellosis
  • Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Vibrio Parahaemolyticus
  • Vibrio Vulnificus
  • Yersiniosis