Preventing Foodborne Illnesses

This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

Foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning, is caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by germs such as salmonella, norovirus and e. coli. Safe food handling at home can help prevent foodborne illnesses.

Between 2016 and 2021, more than 4,200 people in Mississippi had a foodborne illness, resulting in 925 hospitalizations and 7 deaths.

On this page


Symptoms of foodborne illness can begin from 30 minutes to two weeks after a meal, depending on the germ that is ingested. Illness can last from several hours to several days.

To report a suspected foodborne illness from a restaurant meal, or to report unsafe food handling at a restaurant, send e-mail to our Food Safety division at

High Risk Groups

While anyone can become ill from ingesting contaminated food or drink, there are certain groups of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness and complications.

Avoiding Foodborne Illnesses

Whether it's for a family, party or just yourself, proper food handling, storage, prepping and cooking can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

Clean, separate, cook and chill: Food safety at home follows these four basic principles. Everyone who cooks at home for themselves or others should be familiar with them.

Keep yourself, your family, friends and loved ones safe from foodborne illness with the resources below.

High Risk Foods

Some foods are more likely to become contaminated and cause illness unless they are properly cooked or prepared.

  • Meat, poultry or fish that is raw or undercooked
  • Cold smoked fish
  • Raw (unpasteurized) milk
  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Raw sprouts (bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, etc.)
  • Fresh vegetables, including salads, that are unwashed

Safe Cooking Temperatures

Safe cooking temperatures for different types of food

Food Temperature
Beef and meats145°F
Rest time: 3 minutes
Ground beef and sausage160°F
Chicken and poultry165°F
Rest time: 3 minutes
or until flesh separates easily with a fork
Shrimp, lobster, crab, scallopsCook until flesh is white and not translucent
Clams, oysters, musselsCook shells open during cooking
Last reviewed on May 13, 2024 request edits
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866‑HLTHY4U Contact and information

Facebook Twitter Instagram RSS

Accredited by the national Public Health Accreditation Board