Food safety website launched by Kansas

Food safety website launched by Kansas

Health and agriculture officials in Kansas have partnered to launch a new food safety website for the state in an effort to reduce anonymous complaints and better identify and investigate foodborne outbreaks.

The website has links for the public to file complaints with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Agriculture. 

The health department is handling reports about actual illnesses and the agriculture department is fielding complaints about problems observed by the public such as a lack of employee hand washing or evidence of pest infestation. 

The goal of is to improve accessibility and reduce the number of anonymous complaints that hurt KDHE’s ability to start an investigation and confirm an outbreak. 

Outbreaks caused by Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Listeria and Clostridium perfringens have been seen in recent years. Foodborne illnesses such as foodborne diseases, foodborne infections or food poisoning are common, costly yet preventable public health problems. Many different disease-causing microbes, or pathogens, can contaminate foods, so there are many different foodborne infections.

In addition, poisonous chemicals, or other harmful substances can also cause foodborne diseases if they are present in the food. Centers for Disease control and Prevention estimates that each year roughly 48 million people gets sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. 

The complaint report is automatically sent to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and only authorized state and local public health representatives can access it. Information provided is not be shared with restaurants or any other third party.
People reporting foodborne illnesses on the new website are given options for the source of the implicated food.

These options primarily include- food eaten in a restaurant or purchased from a restaurant; food served at an event or private residence (including potluck or catered events); food cooked or prepared in a grocery store or other retail store (including food from a deli or hot food counter inside a store); or a food item (in a can, bottle, box, bag, etc.) purchased from a grocery store or other retail store. Although the new complaint process is not anonymous, Kansas officials say no personal information will be revealed.

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