Food-related diseases affect tens of millions of people and kill thousands. Tracking single cases of foodborne illness and investigating outbreaks are critical public health functions in which SRHD is deeply involved. Equally important is helping individuals understand how to prevent food from being contaminated as it is produced and prepared.
What is foodborne illness (disease, infection)?
Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils and cutting boards. Unless you wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces the right way, you could spread bacteria to your food, and your family.
Even after you’ve cleaned your hands and surfaces thoroughly, raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can still spread illness-causing bacteria to ready-to-eat foods—unless you keep them separate.
Did you know that the bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest in the “Danger Zone” between 40˚ and 140˚ Fahrenheit? And while many people think they can tell when food is “done” simply by checking its color and texture, there’s no way to be sure it’s safe without following a few important but simple steps
By refrigerating foods promptly and properly, you can help keep your family safe from food poisoning at home.
The food vendors in the community, like restaurants, delis, grocery stores, and others, must follow local food safety rules
One of the ways food safety rules protect the public’s health is through food vendor inspections. To learn more about Spokane Regional Health District’s (SRHD’s) Food Safety program, click here.
Unlike many communities, SRHD does not “grade” its food establishments based on inspection findings. Instead, officials use a sequence of inspections as an establishment progresses through enforcement action, focused mainly on how much potential a infraction has to impact public health. For a summary of these enforcement actions, click here.
When visiting a food establishment, such as your favorite restaurant, or when reviewing its inspection report, these are some of the items to be aware of:
Most people don’t report their illness. Spokane Regional Health District needs to know about illnesses that may be caused by food, so foodborne outbreaks can be identified and stopped as quickly as possible.
Report your illness to your local food safety regulator if you think a meal from a food vendor made you sick. It is especially important to report illnesses when more than one person gets sick after eating the same meal.
Contact Spokane Regional Health District with any foodborne illness complaint.
Each year, one in six Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Source: http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/facts.html (CDC)
Reporting unsafe practices and illnesses helps the health district identify potential food-borne disease outbreaks.
Working with providers on the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases, illnesses and other factors relating to health.