Food Poisoning in Cuba

Traveler advisories and reported cases of food poisoning and foodborne illness in Cuba.

Have you fallen ill from food or drink, had food poisoning in Cuba, or know the details of another traveler who has? Please submit information about what was consumed, where, or what others should avoid consuming.

True food poisoning occurs when a person ingests a contaminating chemical or a natural toxin, while most cases of foodborne illness are caused by a variety of foodborne pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites that contaminate food. Such contamination usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or food storage.

Symptoms typically begin several hours to several days after ingestion and can include one or more of the following: nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache, or fatigue. In most cases the body is able to permanently recover after a short period of acute discomfort and illness. However, foodborne illness can result in permanent health problems or even death, especially in babies, young children, pregnant women (and their fetuses), elderly people, sick people and others with weak immune systems.

It's typically in the best interest of a business to keep their customers healthy, but is there a particular restaurant or market in Cuba that you know of which consistently has problems with health and hygiene? Are there any food or drink items that travelers should exercise extreme caution with while visiting Cuba?

Further reading about foodborne illness

Related Catagories: Cuba, Food Poisoning

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Shelly-Anne

January 19th, 2009

I have never been so sick in my life. We travelled to Holguin Cuba Dec/Jan 2008/09 and on the third day I was sick, ruined the rest of my trip. We stayed at the Occidental Grand Playa Turquesa. Definitely not aware of proper food handling techniques. Beware.

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Bill and Dayle Evans

January 10th, 2012

My wife and stayed at Memories Caribe in Cayo Coco from Dec.31,2011 till Jan.7,2012 and had a terrible experience. My wife became ill the fourth day and spent the rest of the week in our room. I began to experiece similar symptoms on the fifth day, with somewhat less serious results. After three days back in Canada we are both starting to feel a little better, but we can't venture too far away from a toilet. My advise to all travelors is to stay away from this over priced and fithy resort.

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Jae

December 18th, 2016

OMG - never felt this horrible for so long. Arrived in Cuba on Monday. By Thursday night I was looking for a way back to the USA - which isn't simple since phone and internet service are spotty, at best.

Can't be sure the cause or this painful illness. I did take precautions, but there aren't perfect solutions in some situations. And, I would imagine, not everything is directly food-related. Simple things like the absence of toilet seats and toilet paper outside of hotels could easily translate to sanitation issues which are not clearly traceable.

Surprisingly, the first symptom was congestion in my upper chest and a deep cough. Within 24 hours I was violently ill with a severe unrelenting headache and unabated abdominal pain with fever and chills, as well as nausea, plus some nasal congestion.

A few things that I recall which made me uncomfortable, mentally speaking: watching a bartender pour water from a bottle without a top on it. With or without a cap it could have been refilled with tap water. I asked, but was told that it was bottled water. I was served a dish which was seriously under-cooked. I didn't continue to eat it, but the damage could have been done. Ice is probably not filtered water, so contamination could be an issue whenever used. But, as indicated above, I would imagine that having antibacterial wipes and/or gel would be critical to a strong defense against what can't be seen.

Will never go back. The country is in ruins and its people in deplorable conditions. Severe poverty is ubiquitous.

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