Did you know that of all the foodborne illness complaints to the health department, 73% of those complaints blame a restaurant as the cause of their illness? In reality, of all confirmed cases of foodborne illness, only 30% are a result of eating in a restaurant. By having a complaint formally investigated, you demonstrate to your customer that you take their complaint seriously and that you are committed to providing the safest, highest quality food. Not only that, it usually results in finding the true culprit!
A foodborne illness complaint investigation is a two-part process. The first of which is interviewing the individual who made the complaint. The interview will illicit important information such as date and time of the meal and of the onset of illness; type and duration of symptoms; whether or not medical care was sought; and menu items consumed. The second part is the environmental investigation. This involves inspecting the food establishment. The focus of this inspection will be of those food items suspected of causing illness: where they were purchased, how long they were in storage, who prepared them, what ingredients were used, what cooking temperature were used and how long were they cooked, and how long they were held before service. In many cases the customers are convinced it is not the restaurant and appreciate the effort and serious attention to their complaint. Other cases there is just no way to tell – could be the restaurant or it could be something they ate at home. In either case they still appreciate your attention in trying to find the problem.