Lewis Taylor of The Register-Guard says getting sick is an unfortunate side effect of eating adventurously. Even eating un-adventurously can make you ill.
Food-borne illnesses are misunderstood and difficult to track, and only about 10 percent of them are ever reported, officials say. They aren’t just underreported, though, they’re also over-diagnosed. Most people assume it was the meal they just ate a half-hour ago that’s got them doubled over in pain, but in reality most food-borne illnesses have a 24- to 48-hour incubation period. This means restaurants often get a bad rap for making people ill, when it could have just as easily been Grandma’s preserves.
That said, there are illnesses that require only a few hours of incubation, including staph infections (staphylococcus aureus), which can affect people in as little as one hour; and noroviruses, (Norwalk viruses), which can incubate in 12 hours, Kruger says.
Noroviruses, which often causes stomach problems, are transferred through human-to-human contact, says Tamara Wilhite, a Lane County environmental health specialist. She says people can be norovirus carriers without actually having the disease, and the virus can live for several days on a surface.
By reporting an illness, you’re providing information health officials need to launch an investigation. In general, it takes two complaints from separate households to launch an investigation.
“Aside from investigating the restaurants and their processes and making sure that they’re not doing something that could cause this to repeat, there may be ingredients in food products (that are causing illness),” Wilhite says.
To prevent food-borne illnesses, Wilhite recommends thorough hand-washing, which means 20 seconds worth of scrubbing.