Foodborne Illness Complaints Data
To detect potential foodborne illness outbreaks and implement control and education measures to prevent more people from getting sick.
Why It matters:
A complaint system allows public health agencies to collect information from the public about foodborne illness complaints via telephone or web-based reporting systems. Foodborne illness complaint systems play a vital role in detecting and stopping foodborne illness outbreaks. RIDOH uses the information provided to investigate the complaint and detect outbreaks of foodborne disease. Reporting a foodborne illness to RIDOH can lead to faster detection of foodborne illness outbreaks, which can stop other people from getting sick too. It can also help detect outbreaks that are caused by pathogens that are not one of the reportable diseases and conditions in Rhode Island.
The foodborne illness complaint system only works if people use it to report illness. People who believe they are sick from something they ate (food poisoning or foodborne illness) should report it through RIDOH’s foodborne illness complaint system either by phone at 401-222-2749 or through our online form.
Rhode Island Numbers
- RIDOH’s online foodborne illness complaint form was developed to make it easier for people to submit complaints as quickly as possible. Foodborne illness complaints using RIDOH’s online form have increased from 0% of complaints in 2010 to 63% in 2021. Since 2010, RIDOH has received an average of 172 complaints of foodborne illness each year.
- From 2010-2021, the foodborne illness complaint system received an average of 16.3 complaints per 100,000 people. This means that for every 100,000 people in Rhode Island, an average of 16.3 complaints of foodborne illness were reported to RIDOH. According to the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR), this number is within the acceptable range but below the preferable range. Rhode Islanders are using the complaint system appropriately but increased use would improve the complaint system and foodborne illness detection .
- Since 2010, 77% of foodborne illness outbreaks in Rhode Island were detected from reports through the foodborne illness complaint system.
- RIDOH detected 29.1 outbreaks per 1,000 complaints during this period. According to CIFOR, it is preferable to detect more than 20 outbreaks per 1,000 complaints. RIDOH’s complaint system is an effective tool for detecting outbreaks.