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IDPH - Question of the Week

Advances in technology have dramatically decreased the number of foodborne illnesses reported in Iowa.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), foodborne illness affects 48 million Americans, causes 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually. Anyone, regardless of race, age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, is at risk. Fortunately, most foodborne illnesses are self-limiting; however, they cost our nation millions in lost productivity, medical, and legal expenses.

Foodborne illness (food poisoning) happens after eating or drinking contaminated food, beverages, or water. Infectious organisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and also toxins can get into food. Contamination can occur during food processing, production and handling. Contamination can happen anywhere food is processed, packaged, shipped, prepared, or stored. Severity of illness from eating contaminated food may vary depending on how contaminated the food is as well as one’s age and underlying health.

There are several agents that can cause illness when consumed in contaminated food, beverages, or water. Foodborne illness can also be spread person-to-person as well as from contact with animals.

Click here for a list of foodborne illnesses and symptoms.

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