Food poisoning

This usually happens after eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses or chemicals. You can get food poisoning at any time of the year although there tends to be more cases in the summer months when temperatures are warmer. The very young, elderly or people in poor health are more vulnerable to food poisoning.

The most common causes of food poisoning are:

  • preparing food too far in advance and then keeping it at room temperature
  • undercooking
  • not reheating food to a high enough temperature
  • cross contamination from raw to cooked foods
  • poor personal hygiene and infected food handlers

The symptoms

The symptoms usually start within a few days of eating the food that caused the infection. Sometimes they start after a few hours or in some cases not for a few weeks.

  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Being sick (vomiting)
  • Stomach cramps
  • A high temperature of 38C or above
  • Feeling generally unwell - such as feeling tired or having aches and chills

What action should I take?

If you feel ill, it may be necessary for you to visit your doctor. You may be asked to give a stool sample in order to determine the cause of your illness. If confirmed, your doctor will notify environmental health who have a legal obligation to investigate all food poisoning cases. You may receive a visit or phone call from one of our officers so that clinical details and information about the foods you ate can be recorded.

If you are a food handler or work with vulnerable people (the elderly and infants) then you should inform your employer immediately and not work until 48 hours after your symptoms have disappeared.

Report food poisoning