Foodborne Illness Reporting & Investigation

Reporting Requirements
One of our top priorities in protecting the public health through our food and beverage program is preventing foodborne illness, that is, disease that is carried or transmitted to people by eating contaminated food. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts and good intentions, foodborne illnesses are inevitable and when they do occur, our efforts must shift to determining the source of the infectious problem, and taking steps to prevent future outbreaks.

Requirements for Licensed Establishments
Our agency requires all licensed food and beverage establishments in the communities we serve to call us immediately at 507-934-7096 if a customer reports a suspected foodborne illness. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

At minimum we require the name and phone number of each customer reporting a suspected foodborne illness as well as the name of the person receiving the initial report.

It is the responsibility of the establishment to contact us when a complaint is made. Consumers can call us directly if they wish, but it is not their responsibility and we will contact them immediately once their complaints have been reported to us.

For Consumers Who Suspect a Foodborne Illness
Food Prepared at a Licensed Establishment
If you think you may have a foodborne illness, symptoms of which most commonly include, but are not limited to, vomiting and diarrhea, we strongly encourage you to contact your physician or other health care professional. If you suspect your symptoms were caused by food that you ate at a licensed establishment, we encourage you to contact either the establishment or our office at 507-934-7096.

Food Prepared at Home
If the food was prepared at home, you may consider contacting the store where the suspected product was purchased.

Importance of Reporting Illness
In either case, you may also contact the Minnesota Foodborne Illness Hotline at 877-366-3455 to report the illness. This toll-free hotline takes reports statewide and stores them in a confidential central database to rapidly identify and track potential outbreaks.

As unpleasant as it may be to talk about the symptoms of foodborne illness with a stranger over the phone, it's extremely important for the safety and health of the population as a whole. The state hotline will track illness reports across the entire state and in doing so has been instrumental in identifying diseases, preventing suffering, and even saving lives. Without the public reports to the local health departments, establishments and the Minnesota Foodborne Illness Hotline, outbreaks cannot be detected, stopped, and corrected.

For More Information
If you have questions about foodborne illness, safe food cooking, handling, and storage, or other related concerns in general, please don't hesitate to contact our office by phone, or by email.