iowasic-logoThe Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has launched an initiative to ease the impact of food poisoning cases.

The effort involves a hotline Iowans can call to report a possible foodborne illness. IDPH Medical Director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says specialists can then begin an investigation into the cause and source of the illness.

“The sooner we find out that people are getting ill, especially if they’re getting ill from something that’s public — in other words, a restaurant or an item being sold at your local store, the faster we can go in, intervene, and make sure any future food that’s sold will be safe,” Quinlisk said.

The IowaSic hotline is 1-844-469-2742 (1-844-IOWA-SIC). Quinlisk notes such a hotline would’ve been helpful in 2013 when a Cyclospora outbreak sickened at least 127 people in Iowa, Nebraska and a few other Midwest states. That outbreak was eventually traced to produce grown and packaged in Mexico and distributed to a national restaurant chain.