Got sick or had a bad experience eating at an Idaho restaurant? Here’s how to report it

Have you ever enjoyed a nice meal at a restaurant, only to get home later that evening to find yourself bent over in pain and spending more time with the toilet than with your family? Or perhaps you’ve been enjoying a nice meal at a restaurant before noticing something that absolutely violates Idaho’s Food Code.

Whatever the problem, something’s not how it’s supposed to be.

Fortunately, it’s easy in Idaho to report a food code or poisoning violation.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare oversees food safety regulations, such as implementing the Food Protection Program, which outlines the standards and guidelines for safe foot storage and handling in Idaho.

But the responsibility for enforcing food regulations and performing inspections falls to Idaho’s seven health districts. Ada County — along with Boise, Elmore and Valley Counties — falls under the jurisdiction of the Central Health District.

All food facilities that fall under Central Health District’s authority are subject to at least one unannounced inspection per year, according to CDH’s website.

“When critical violations are noted during an inspection, the operator usually must take some action to try to correct the issue at the time of the inspection,” CDH spokesperson Maria Ortega told the Idaho Statesman.

“If it cannot be fully corrected during the inspection, then our Environmental Health Specialist schedules a follow-up inspection, and the violation should be resolved by then,” Ortega continued. “Most critical risk violations are to be corrected within 10 days.”

How to report food poisoning or violations

If you visit a restaurant and become sick from eating there, or notice any other food violations, you can directly report it to CDH. Here’s how:

Online complaint

  • Fill out the health district’s online form

  • The form will ask for your contact information, the name and information of the establishment in question for the violation

  • You will also be asked your profession, as well as food and activity history.

Phone complaint

  • Call your local CDH division of environmental health by phone — Ada County residents can call (208) 327-7499.

After you complain

  • Watch your phone or email, as a CDH official will reach out.

  • Be prepared to answer specific questions about the violation and food items you’ve eaten up to three days before becoming ill.

How to identify food poisoning

Food poisoning typically comes from consuming certain germs that contaminate foods, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Two of the most common germs are Salmonella and E. Coli, and dependent on which germ you swallow, food poisoning can last from hours to days.

Gastrointestinal food allergies or reactions can also occur, which could include symptoms like hives, or the respiratory or cardiovascular systems in more severe cases.

According to the CDC, some of the most common symptoms of food poisoning are:

  • Diarrhea

  • Stomach pain or cramps

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Fever

The CDC recommends drinking plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated during food poisoning. But there are more severe symptoms that the CDC recommends seeing a doctor for if they persist:

  • Bloody diarrhea

  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than three days

  • Fever with a temperature over 102 degrees

  • Vomiting so often you can’t keep fluids down

  • Signs of dehydration include not frequently urinating, dry mouth, and dizziness when standing up.