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What To Do If You Suspect Food Poisoning

Food-borne bacteria usually take one to three days to cause illness but in some cases, depending on the bacteria, as little as 30 minutes to as many as three weeks. Symptoms of food poisoning may include upset stomach, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea. Flu-like symptoms with a fever, headache and body aches also are possible. At times, it can be confused with other types of illness.

The National Institutes of Health recommends the following if you suspect you have contracted a food-borne illness:

  • Contact your doctor or health care provider and seek medical treatment as necessary.
  • Save the food in question, wrap it securely, clearly label it and freeze it. It may be used to diagnose your illness and prevent others from getting sick.
  • Save all packaging and record the date and time the food was eaten. Also save unopened packages of the same product. Report the contaminated food to the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854.
  • Call the local health department if you believe you became ill from food eaten at a local restaurant.

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