Should I Go to the Doctor if I Suspect Food Poisoning?

Yes, if you think you have food poisoning, you should contact your doctor and get medical treatment. The most important reason for this is that some foodborne pathogens can cause severe illness and are sometimes fatal.

Have Your Doctor Test for E. coli O157:H7 and Other Pathogens

You should tell the doctor that you are concerned you have food poisoning and ask for the appropriate lab test to determine if you were sickened by Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, Salmonella, or another dangerous pathogen.

In cases of, E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Campylobacter, the appropriate lab test is performed on a sample of your stool.

To ensure that the lab does the proper tests, be sure to ask your doctor to specifically request a culture for E. coli O157:H7. A Listeria test is typically done using blood or spinal fluid samples, but is sometimes also performed on a stool sample.

If you test positive for E. coli O157:H7 or any other foodborne illness, call 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) to speak with one of our lawyers about the next steps you need to take. This consultation is free.

If you are no longer symptomatic, testing may not detect the presence of any foodborne illness even though your illness was caused by adulterated food. This is because the agent causing your illness may have already passed from your body or may have been killed off by antibiotics (if you took any).

Testing Bacteria

Contact Your State or Local Health Department

If you suspect that you were a part of a foodborne illness outbreak, you should contact your state or local health department.  They will collect information about your illness and your food exposures and determine if you may be part of an outbreak.

You should also let the health department know if you still have any of the suspect food and ask them if they are interested in collecting it for testing.  Often state health departments or state agriculture departments will arrange for lab tests on food in outbreak situations. If you would like to discuss your case with one of the lawyers at Pritzker Hageman law firm before contacting the health department, please contact us.

If your symptoms passed or if you test negative for foodborne illness, it may still be possible to prove your illness was caused by adulterated food if you still have some of the suspect food, it is tested, and testing confirms it is contaminated with a foodborne pathogen.

Testing Food Samples

Bacteria in Petri Dish Testing

Testing on food samples can be performed at many laboratories across the country.  If your health department declines to arrange testing of your food samples, you may want to contact a private lab.  Below are links to some of the labs. You will need to make arrangements with the labs and follow their policies and procedures for preparing, sending, and paying for tests on the suspected food product.

If lab testing confirms that you have been sickened by Campylobactor, E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, or Shigella, contact our lawyers.