What is KY Food Safety Reporting?
If you suspect that more than one person has become ill after eating the same food or food from a common source, please contact your local health department or use KY Food Safety Reporting to file an online foodborne illness report soon after an illness occurs.
When you think a food you ate made you and/or others sick, answer all the questions in the Food Safety Reporting survey to provide as much information as possible to your local health department. The health department will examine your report, investigate if needed and capture real-time information about what is going on in your community.
What information do I need to provide?
Your local health department needs basic information to begin an investigation. Information that answers who, what, when, where and how is important to determine what caused your illness and whether a foodborne outbreak has occurred. The more information provided, the faster the case can be solved. Keep the answers to these questions in mind when you report your suspected foodborne illness:
- How many people are sick?
- What are the symptoms of illness?
- When did the illness begin and how long did it last?
- What did the ill people eat?
Additionally, when a foodborne illness outbreak is first suspected, the germ that caused people to become sick likely is unknown. Laboratory testing to identify that germ is a critical piece of the puzzle that will help focus the investigation. If you are ill with symptoms you believe may be associated with an outbreak, it is recommended you see your doctor so samples (like a stool specimen) can be collected for laboratory testing. Alternatively, your health department may ask to collect specimens from you. To learn more about foodborne disease-causing germs, visit CDC | Foodborne Germs and Illnesses.
What happens when I file a foodborne illness report?
When you click submit on the online report, your information will be sent to your local health department where it will be reviewed. Health department staff will follow-up with you if further information or clarification is needed. After all necessary information is collected, local and state registered environmental health specialists will decide on a course of action. A single complaint does not always lead to an onsite investigation of an establishment. Your local health department has regulatory authority over retail food establishments. If warranted, based on local policies and regulations, health department staff will visit the food establishment you suspect made you sick to check for safe food handling practices. Additionally, they will look for trends in other foodborne illness reports to see if there are similarities that might suggest an outbreak has occurred. The goal is to get the information from you, the consumer and act quickly to prevent others from becoming sick.
A note on last meal bias
People often associate their illness with the last food or meal they consumed. While there are some germs (particularly toxins) that cause illness to develop as quickly as 30 minutes after consumption, many foodborne illnesses can take up to three days or longer to develop. When thinking about what might have made you ill, it is helpful to review the food items you ate over the last several days.