foodborne illness

How to Report a Foodborne Illness (Food Poisoning)

Do you think you got sick from something you ate? Let us know by answering a few questions about your symptoms, places you've visited, and what you've eaten in the past few days. A lot of people associate getting sick with their last meal. There are some germs that make you sick soon after eating contaminated food, but there are others that can take up to 3 or more days to develop. Use our secure online report or call us at (608) 266-4821.
File an Online Foodborne Illness Report

The information you enter is safe, secure and confidential.

Your report is sent to us, and only authorized staff can see it. Information you provide will not be shared with restaurants or any third parties. You can remain anonymous. We will not release your name to anyone outside of Public Health Madison and Dane County without your permission.

Get Medical Advice

Contact your health care provider, especially if you are:

  • Pregnant, elderly, have a weak immune system, or if the ill person is an infant. These people are at higher risk of getting sick from germs in contaminated food. They are also at higher risk of developing serious medical problems.
  • Having severe symptoms like bloody diarrhea, severe nausea and vomiting, or a high fever.

Protect Yourself and Others from Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illness can happen at home, in restaurants, and at community meals like a potluck. There are many causes of foodborne illness, such as:

  • Improperly cooked or stored food
  • Contamination of food by:
    • a sick food handler,
    • other contaminated food,
    • dirty equipment or utensils. 

Take these precautions to stay healthy.

Wash your hands

  • Wash your hands before making food.
  • Wash your hands after handling foods that may have bacteria, like raw chicken or other meat.
  • Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.

Keep hot foods HOT

  • Cook foods to proper temperatures.
  • Keep the food hot until served.

Keep cold foods COLD

  • Cool hot foods quickly to store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator.
  • Keep cold food cold until served.

Don't cross contaminate food

  • Keep raw meats away from other foods, especially if the other foods will not be cooked further, like hamburger buns or lettuce.
  • Wash all equipment (knives, cutting boards) that have been in contact with raw meats, poultry, or fish with soap and water.

Don't make food for others if you have been sick

  • Norovirus is the most common cause of food poisoning. It spreads easily and causes diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

  • If you have been sick, disinfect surfaces and don't prepare food for 24–48 hours after your symptoms have gone away.