UF student Brianne Bradford questioned if she was dying the night she had food poisoning two years ago after eating paella, a Spanish dish composed of seafood and rice.
Bradford, a 23-year-old psychology junior, said for 24 hours, she experienced flu-like symptoms.
Bradford was not alone. Food poisoning is on the rise in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s survey of foodborne illnesses.
Campylobacter, a type of bacteria found in chicken and unpasteurized milk and cheese, is becoming more common. Salmonella is the most common cause of food poisoning.
Anthony Dennis, director of environmental health at the Alachua County Health Department, said as of this year, the department has not had to investigate any facilities for foodborne outbreaks.
He said if the health department gets multiple complaints from the same establishment, they would have to investigate.
“We go out there as a health department to track it down and see where it came from and if there is a risk,” Dennis said.
Janis Mena, a registered dietician at the UF Student Health Care Center, said food poisoning can occur from two to four hours or up to 12 hours after eating.
“It depends on the severity and the bug,” she said.
The best way to avoid most foodborne illnesses, she said, is to wash your hands.
“We can cause them ourselves,” Mena said.