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Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illness (also known as food poisoning, foodborne disease, or foodborne infection) is common, costly and preventable. You can get food poisoning after swallowing food that has been contaminated with a variety of pathogens or toxic substances. The onset of symptoms ranges from a few hours to two or more days after the contaminated food was consumed. Certain pathogens may take hours or days to incubate before symptoms arise while toxic substances may usually have a shorter reaction time. The severity of symptoms may depend on the quantity of food and other underlying factors of the person. Young children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems are susceptible to foodborne illness.

Common symptoms of foodborne illness include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

Consult your physician immediately if you think you may have a foodborne illness from eating at a restaurant in Island County.

In an effort to prevent further incidences of foodborne illness, Public Health wants to know about your illness in order to track trends in the community.  Staff can conduct investigations at the food establishments to identify the potential source.

If you believe you became ill with vomiting or diarrhea within 72 hours (3 days) after consuming food in a restaurant or purchasing food in Island County please contact us at: 360-678-8276.

When you call, we will ask:

  • What was the name/location of the suspected source?
  • What was the date and time of food consumption?
  • Number of people and name/relation in your party regardless and whether or not they became ill
  • What food(s) were eaten at that time?
  • What are/were symptoms and what time did they first occur?
  • Food history (what was consumed) for the past 72 hours (3 days) of those with symptoms


If you believe you got sick from a food establishment in:

Helpful Resources​​

Center for Disease Control - Foodborne Illness (Frequently Asked Questions)​​​