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Foodborne Illness Investigation

The Consumer Protection Program responds to all reports of suspected foodborne illness implicating food sold or served in the City of Long Beach. The primary objective of a foodborne illness investigation is to identify the causative factors and prevent additional cases. Foodborne illnesses are diseases that are carried or transmitted to human beings by food. Bacteria cause the greatest number of foodborne illnesses. Most frequently, food poisonings result from Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Clostridium bacteria.

The Consumer Protection Program coordinates with the Health Department's Epidemiology and Laboratory Divisions in the investigation of a reported foodborne illness. 

A typical foodborne illness investigation can be summarized in the following 5 steps:

  1. Foodborne illness complaints are received and screened by the Epidemiology section and then referred to the Consumer Protection Program for investigation. 
  2. An Environmental Health Specialist conducts an inspection at the facility reported to be involved in the foodborne illness. 
  3. The inspection focuses on food source, storage practices, food processing techniques, food handling and employee practices. 
  4. The Environmental Health Specialist collects food samples, if necessary.
  5. The appropriate corrective action is required of the food facility operator in those instances where conditions are identified that would contribute to a foodborne illness.

Please call the Epidemiology Department at (562) 570-4302 to report any cases of suspected foodborne illness in the City of Long Beach.