Taste Hawaii – Food Poisoning Info For Travelers

Chances are great that you will “Taste Hawaii” and not get food poisoning.  The following information will help you, the traveler, in case of a foodborne illness.

Foodborne viruses don’t discriminate whether a traveler visits a fruit stand, food truck or a restaurant owned by a celebrity personality.  A patron could get a foodborne virus anywhere regardless of how thorough a food establishment follows its, and the Health Department’s, sanitation policies.

The Hawaii Department of Health has advised Taste-Hawaii.com that there has not been an increase, nor a decrease, in the reporting of some foodborne illnesses in the past year.  Most reported foodborne illnesses are 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 the fingers of a child, kitchen utensils or clothing can cause an infection.

Presently the Hawaii Department of Health doesn’t post grading scores at food establishments for the general public to observe.  However, its Sanitation Branch is discussing the possibility of establishing a grading system to be visible at every restaurant for the benefit of its patrons.

If you are a traveler and you are experiencing food poisoning symptoms, for example, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and/or fever, advise the hotel where you are staying.  They may have an on-call doctor.  If they do not have an on-call doctor, then advise them that you need medical assistance.

Next, you must report every food poisoning case to the Hawaii Department of Health.  This is very important.  The Hawaii Department of Health will record information from you and the doctor and will track foodborne viruses to safeguard the good health of the general public.

Each island has a different telephone number to report foodborne illnesses.  If you are on Oahu, you can call: (808) 586-4586 (daytime) / (808) 566-5049 (after hours).