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Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals | Kathy Kliebert, Secretary

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Statewide Initiatives



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Food and Foodborne Illness Complaints

The Retail Food Program investigates all reported foodborne illness complaints and unsanitary conditions regarding retail food establishments. Suspected foodborne outbreaks are referred to the epidemiology section for further investigation.

Complaints should be reported to the local sanitarian office in the local parish health unit. To find a parish health unit in your area, click here.

Foodborne illnesses are caused by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Many different disease-causing microbes, or pathogens, can contaminate foods, so there are many types of foodborne infections. In addition, poisonous chemicals, or other harmful substances can cause foodborne illnesses if they are present in food.

Highlighted Fact

  • More than 250 different foodborne diseases have been described.
  • The CDC estimates that 76 million cases of foodborne disease occur each year in the United States.
  • There are approximately 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths related to foodborne diseases each year.
  • The most severe cases tend to occur in the very old, the very young, those who have a weakened immune system and healthy people exposed to a very high dose of an organism.
  • Foods commonly associated with foodborne illnesses are raw meats and poultry, raw eggs, raw shellfish, unpasturized milk and juices and unrinsed fruits and vegetables.