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Food and Water-borne Illness Information

What are food and water-borne illnesses?

Foodborne illnesses occur after eating or drinking contaminated foods or liquids. Water-borne illnesses occur after drinking or playing in contaminated water.  Food and water-borne illnesses can be caused by, bacteria, viruses, toxins, and parasites. Rarely, food and water-borne illnesses can be caused by chemicals or harmful toxins; these are often referred to as poisonings.

What are the symptoms of a foodborne illness?

The most common symptoms of foodborne illnesses are vomiting and diarrhea. Some people may also experience headache, cramps, nausea, fever, tiredness, and sometimes bloody stools. People experiencing severe symptoms, have a weakened immune system or are pregnant, elderly, or an infant, should visit their doctor as soon as possible.

How are foodborne illnesses treated?

Most healthy people typically recover without the need of medical attention. However, some people, especially the elderly, very young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions may need medical treatment.

How can I avoid foodborne illnesses?

  • Cook raw meats thoroughly
  • Wash fruits and vegetables
  • Keep raw meats away from produce, cooked foods, and foods that are ready to eat
  • Wash hands, knives, cutting boards, countertops, and any other surfaces or tools that come into contact with raw meats
  • Avoid unpasteurized products
  • Wash hands frequently

If I’m sick how can I keep others from getting sick?

You have symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhea it is important to take the following steps:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom
  • Do not prepare food for others
    • If you work in the food service industry, you may need to be excused from work until your symptoms resolve, or you are cleared by your doctor.
  • Stay home until symptoms resolve

What should I do if I think I have a foodborne illness?

Think you got sick from something you ate? We’d like to know!

If this is an emergency, or your symptoms are severe, please contact 911 or your health care provider immediately.

Please take our foodborne illness survey to answer a few questions regarding your symptoms, places you visited, and what you ate. The information you provide through this survey is confidential.

Report restaurant or food concerns that are not related to an illness.

If you wish to speak to an Environmental Health representative regarding your foodborne illness during business hours, please call (505) 768-2632.

What should I do if I think I have a water-borne illness?

Please contact the City’s Epidemiologist at (505) 768-2632.

For concerns regarding drinking water within the City of Albuquerque, please contact the Water Utility Authority at (505) 842-WATR.

Additional resources:

For foodborne illness concerns outside of the City of Albuquerque, please contact the New Mexico Department of Health, Epidemiologist on-call at (505) 827-0006.

For concerns regarding a pre-packaged product that does not contain meat or poultry contact the

Food and Drug Administration
Toll-free Nationwide:  1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332)
NM FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator: (303) 236-3044
Emergency/24 hour report line: 1-866-300-4374 or (301) 796-8240

For concerns regarding domestic and imported meat, poultry, and related products (meat or poultry-containing stews, pizzas, and frozen foods), and processed egg products contact the

United States Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Meat and Poultry Hotline:
Phone: 1-888-674-6854
Web: AskKaren.gov

For more information on water-borne illnesses, visit Centers for Disease Control Recreational Water Illnesses