The Environmental Health Division enforces food protection by investigating food-borne illnesses and other complaints after a problem has occurred. To report a food-borne illness, please see our "Make a Complaint" page. To file a complaint, you may either call the department at 309-679-6161 or email us. This is the next step in protection after prevention.
About Food-Borne Illnesses
Food-borne illness is an illness carried or transmitted to people by food. Food-borne illness may present itself as flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or fever; so many people may not recognize the illness is caused by bacteria or other pathogens in food.
How Foods Become Unsafe
- Poor personal hygiene (due to improper hand washing, or touching food when ill).
- Time/Temperature abuse: holding food in the temperature danger zone — between 41°F and 135°F — for too long, allowing microorganisms to grow.
- Cross-contamination (for example: raw food such as chicken coming into contact with ready to eat foods, such as lettuce).
Substances That Cause Food-Borne Illness
The following other substances besides bacteria can cause food-borne illness:
- Chemical contaminants
- Cleaning products
- Foreign objects
- Non-food grade metals
- Other biological contaminants
- Physical contaminants
- Seafood, plant, and mushroom toxins