Food Poisoning Information for Travelers


Chances are great that you will “Taste Marin” and not get food poisoning.

However, the following information will help you, the traveler, in case you get a food-borne illness.

Food-borne viruses don’t discriminate whether a traveler visits a produce stand, food truck or a restaurant owned by a celebrity personality.

A patron could get a food-borne virus anywhere regardless of how thorough a food establishment follows its, and the health department’s, sanitation policies.

Nationally, the most common reported food-borne illness is caused by campylobacter jejuni. This bacteria is commonly associated with poultry.

The Centers for Disease Control states that approximately 124 people die from campylobacter jejuni each year. The risk of contamination is very high. One drop of juice from raw chicken that comes in contact with your fingers, kitchen utensils or clothing can cause an infection.

The Marin County Environmental Health Services has advised that there has not been an increase in the reporting of food-borne illnesses in the past few months.

Its mission is to “protect public health and the well-being of all Marin County residents, workers, and visitors by preventing injury and the spread of disease.”

Culinary consumers have shown a keen interest in food safety as they travel throughout the San Francisco Bay Area seeking out the very best in culinary offerings as new food businesses have broken from the traditional to redefine themselves at farmers’ markets, food trucks and homemade food, raw oyster and cheese companies.

Started in January, the Environmental Health Services began placing green, yellow and red placards in restaurants as a mandatory regulation to notify culinary consumers that the food served was safe.

The placards are posted near the entrance of the restaurant and acts as a traffic light for patrons: “green for go (“pass”), yellow for caution (“conditional pass”) or red for stop (“closed”).  It’s called the “Go For Green” program.”

If you are a traveler and you are experiencing food poisoning symptoms, for example, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches, fever and/or cold chills, please advise the property managers at your hotel, condo or vacation rental.

They may have an on-call doctor. If they do not have an on-call doctor, then advise them that you need medical assistance.

After receiving medical treatment, you must report every food poisoning case to the Marin County Environmental Health Services division.

Telephone: (415) 473-6907


This is very important.

The Marin County Environmental Health Services division will record information from you and the doctor and will track food-borne viruses to safeguard the good health of the general public.

A courtesy call to the food establishment where you believe that you came in contact with the food-borne virus should be part of your attempt to correct the incident.  This will go a long way in establishing your understanding of, and trust in, our local food purveyors.