Food Facility Complaints & Foodborne Illness


The Retail Food Protection Program conducts routine inspections of Retail Food Facilities as well as responds to complaints from the public.  If you see questionable food safety practices and/or possible violations of the California Retail Food Code  at a Retail Food Facility in Sacramento County, you may register a complaint on-line, or call Sacramento ​County 311 Connect at 916-875-4311 or 311.
You may also call EMD directly at (916) 875-8440.

If you feel that you have become ill from eating food from a retail food facility in Sacramento County, please call our front desk at (916) 875-8440 to report your illness.

Our front desk personnel will complete a foodborne illness questionnaire over the phone.  The questionnaire includes several questions about the date and time of the food consumed, food consumed by people who you dined with, as well as symptoms and medical treatment/testing you may have received.  This information from the questionnaire helps Specialists identify the potential problem areas when they conduct the foodborne illness investigation.

Please Note: EMD does not test food products.

General Information on Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illness (often referred to as food poisoning) is any illness resulting from the consumption of contaminated food.

There are two types of food poisoning: infectious agent and toxic agent. Food infection refers to the presence of bacteria or other microbes which infect the body after consumption.

Food intoxication refers to the ingestion of toxins contained within the food, including bacterially produced exotoxins, which can happen even when the microbe that produced the toxin is no longer present or able to cause infection.

In spite of the common term food poisoning​, most cases are caused by a variety of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites that contaminate food, rather than chemical or natural toxins.

Foodborne illness usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or food storage. Good hygiene practices before, during, and after food preparation can reduce the chances of contracting an illness. There is a general consensus in the public health community that regular hand-washing is one of the most effective defenses against the spread of foodborne illness. The action of monitoring food to ensure that it will not cause foodborne illness is known as food safety.

Foodborne illness can also be caused by pesticides or medicines in food and naturally toxic substances like poisonous mushrooms or reef fish.