Suzy Cohen of Newsday.com reports that when you’re dealing with food-borne illness, there’s no over-the-counter remedy to “head off” the symptoms. If you are certain the food poisoning occurred at that restaurant, you should contact the manager and relate what happened. Other patrons may also have gotten sick. If the owners are decent and reputable, they will pay your medical bills.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you report incidents like this to your local health department. By investigating outbreaks, public health officials learn about problems in food production that lead to illness.
Bear in mind that fondue restaurants serve raw meats, seafood, poultry and vegetables, and it is up to you to cook them. The juices of all these foods mix together. Since you are your own chef, I recommend that you overcook the food and certainly keep your utensils clean. Raw or undercooked foods that are contaminated can cause infections because they contain dangerous bacteria, parasites or fungi.
Food-borne diseases can be harmful, especially if you become infected with E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, hepatitis A or Campylobacter.
Symptoms of food-poisoning may range from a mild stomachache and cramps to serious diarrhea, vomiting, liver failure, dehydration and even death. You did the right thing by taking your wife to the ER. Over-the-counter drugs would not have helped in this situation.
John Robbins has written an interesting book on the subject of foods and food-borne illness called “The Food Revolution” (Red Wheel/Weiser, $17.95; www.foodrevolution.org).
Because it is impossible to eradicate all the harmful micro-organisms in our meals, it’s important to cook them properly and keep your immune system strong. Also, spray down your counters, clean your utensils and replace sponges often.