Foodborne Illness

Common bacteria and viruses that cause food poisoning. An informational site sponsored by Marler Clark

About Foodborne Illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 48 million foodborne illness cases occur in the United States every year.  At least 128,000 Americans are hospitalized, and 3,000 die after eating contaminated food. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is eating restaurant food riskier than cooking at home?

Because you have more control over the food you prepare at home, if you practice safe food handling…

Q. What is the most effective way to wash my hands in order to get rid of germs?

The USDA recommends that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap in warm water for at least 20 seconds.…

Q. Could my food poisoning symptoms come from a restaurant I ate at a week ago?

Yes, this is possible. If you have food poisoning symptoms, they are not necessarily from the meal…

Q. If I have food poisoning, how do I report my case?

The majority of foodborne illness cases go unreported. If you think you have contracted a foodborne…

Q. How do I find out whether a restaurant has a history of serving contaminated food?

Environmental health practitioners from local health departments routinely conduct restaurant inspections.…

Q. Am I taking a risk by eating vegetables such as tomatoes and spinach raw?

There is always a slight risk of contamination when eating raw foods. However, you can reduce the…

Q. Is it safe to cook raw meat and vegetables together in the same pan at the same time?

Yes, this is a safe method of cooking, as long as everything in the pan is fully cooked before eating.…

Q. If I have food poisoning, how long should it last?

Depending on the type of foodborne illness you have, and your personal biology, symptoms can last…

Q. What is pasteurization? Once something has been pasteurized, can I eat it uncooked?

Pasteurization is a heat treatment applied to dairy products and juice in order to kill potentially…

Q. I like my steak medium rare. Am I putting myself in danger by eating undercooked beef?

Beef that is not well-done can still be safe. It is important to make sure that the internal temperature…

Q. What is the difference between a bacterial foodborne illness and a viral one?

While bacterial and viral infections often share the same symptoms, they are two very different types…

Q. If my child or I have diarrhea, should I see a doctor?

You should see a health care provider if your diarrhea lasts more than a day or two, if you have severe…

Q. What is foodborne illness and what are the symptoms?

Foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning, can be caused by a variety of microbes such as bacteria,…

Q. What are the causes of diarrhea?

Diarrhea – loose, watery stools occurring more than three times in one day – is a common problem.…

Q. What is the stomach flu?

Many people use the term “stomach flu” or “24-hour flu” to describe symptoms of nausea, vomiting,…

Q. My doctor said I had “acute gastroenteritis”.  What does this mean?

Technically, gastroenteritis refers to irritation of the stomach and intestines. Health care providers…

While most foodborne illness cases go unreported to health departments, and are thus of unknown origin, the CDC estimates that 9.4 million of the illnesses are caused by 31 known foodborne pathogens, and that 90% of all illnesses due to known pathogens are caused by seven pathogens: Salmonella, norovirus, Campylobacter, Toxoplasma, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria and Clostridium perfringens.

According 2010 estimates, norovirus in the most common of the known pathogens, responsible for 5.4 million illnesses and 149 deaths each year.  Salmonella is now estimated to cause more than a million illnesses and 378 deaths annually.  E. coli toxins are estimated to cause 176,000 illnesses and 20 fatalities a year.  Campylobacter is estimated to cause 845,024 illnesses and 76 deaths.  Listeria is one of the most lethal pathogens, estimated to cause 1,591 illnesses and 255 deaths.

Foodborneillness.com describes some of the most commonly recognized bacteria and viruses that cause food poisoning. In addition to a general description of each pathogen, we have provided information on the symptoms and risks of each kind of foodborne illness, as well as how they are detected as the cause of infection, and measures you can take to prevent contracting each type of bacterial or viral food poisoning.

Frequently asked questions about food poisoning, such as “What should I do if I think I have food poisoning?” and “What does it mean if I have bloody diarrhea?” are answered on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you are seeking legal help for a foodborne illness claim, contact the Marler Clark attorneys, either by filling out our online form for victims of foodborne illness, or by calling (866) 770-2032.