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Foodborne Illness

Foodborne Illness

A foodborne illness is caused by eating or drinking a contaminated food or beverage.  Common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Those at highest risk of a serious or life threatening illness are young children, older adults, and people in poor health or taking immune suppressing drugs.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people suffer from a foodborne illness each year and, of those, 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 people die.  Foodborne illness also has an economic impact.  The Economic Research Service and United States Department of Agriculture estimate the cost of foodborne illness to be $6.9 billion a year.  This cost is related to medical expenses, lost productivity, and death.

Preventing Foodborne Illness

You can protect yourself and your family from foodborne illness by practicing safe food handling methods at home. Click on the links below to read about how to safely handle foods in your kitchen or watch the YouTube video.

Food Safety Brochure
YouTube Video Food Safety in the Home

For more information on food safety and foodborne illness visit

USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service
Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition
Government Food Safety Information
Partnership for Food Safety Education

Reporting a Foodborne Illness

If you think you or a family member has a foodborne illness, call your health care provider and report the symptoms to the Kent County Health Department by calling (616) 632-7228 (Monday-Friday 8am-5pm).  You may also use the link below to file an online foodborne illness complaint.

Report Foodborne Illness Online

Contact Us

Health Department


700 Fuller Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Public Health Clinics

(616) 632-7100

(616) 632-7083

Mark Hall, MD, MPH
Medical Director

Adam London, RS, MPA
Administrative Health Officer

Animal Shelter

740 Fuller Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Monday-Friday: 9:30am-6:30pm
Closed for Lunch:
Monday-Friday: 1:00pm-2:00pm
Adoptions end 1 hour prior to closing.
Closed Saturday & Sunday

(616) 632-7300

(616) 632-7324

Environmental Health Services

700 Fuller Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

(616) 632-6900

(616) 632-6892

Employee Recognition

Nominate a Kent County Employee for Quality Service!