85
      Tuesday
      87 / 64
      Wednesday
      86 / 63
      Thursday
      86 / 61

      Is it food poisoning?

      There were nearly 2,000 medically confirmed cases of food-borne illnesses reported in the U.P. in 2011.

      Some of our Facebook viewers want to more; how do you know you have food poisoning and how can it be prevented?

      The Marquette County Health Department said that food-borne illness is actually very unreported; that number (nearly 2,000) is much higher. In fact, many people don't even know they have food-borne illness, but health officials say it's much more common than you may think. One in six Americans come down with food-borne illness every year.

      General gastrointestinal illness is the most common form in the U.P. with symptoms of diarrhea, fever and vomiting. It's self misdiagnosed often.

      "People think they have the flu, they want to report they have the flu," said Health Officer Fred Benzie. "They'll say 'Well I got the flu shot, but I still got the flu,' when in fact you didn't have the flu. What you had was probably a gastrointestinal illness."

      Health officials say the best thing to do is to visit your doctor to determine what's really ailing you.

      Jeffery's in Marquette said they've got several employees certified in proper food handling procedures and keep their food especially safe by buying locally and using those ingredients quickly.

      "It is a very serious situation, and I take it very seriously to have a high quality product, safe from food-borne illness," said owner Jeffrey Erickson.

      The top five causes of food poisoning are: improper holding temperatures (cold foods should be held at 41 degrees or below, hot foods at 135 degrees or above), improper cooking temperatures, contaminated utensils, poor hygiene and finally, food from unsafe sources.

      Facebook viewer Sally Karttunen asks, "Should it be reported to the health department if it started from a public source?"

      The answer is yes, but officials say the origin isn't always easy to find.

      "A lot of people misunderstand, they have what's called last meal bias. If they get sick, right away they think it's the last place they've eaten and that's where they want to blame," Benzie said. "They're very sure that's what caused the illness when in reality, that's normally not the cause."

      The Marquette County Health Department said they usually receive a flurry of complaints if food-borne illness is indeed from a public source. If that happens, they'll conduct an investigation.

      For more information, click here.