Food poisoning advice

Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating food which hasn't been cooked, handled or stored properly.

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Food poisoning symptoms can include:

  • ​Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach cramps

If you are concerned about your health, you should visit your GP.

What we will do

Once a confirmed case is received, we will contact the person with the symptoms and ask them questions regarding:

  • ​What and where they have eaten in the days before they became ill
  • Details of their symptoms
  • Whether they have been on holiday abroad
  • Whether or not their GP has taken a faecal sample
  • Whether anybody else they ate with also experienced any symptoms

We may request that the person provides a faecal sample.

Risk groups

  • People whose work involves preparing or serving unwrapped foods not subjected to further heating
  • Clinical and social care staff who have direct contact with highly susceptible patients or persons in whom a gastrointestinal infection would have particularly serious consequences
  • People who work with children under five years

Food poisoning outbreaks

If a number of people ate at the same venue and have the same symptoms, this may be due to a food poisoning outbreak. Our investigation into the outbreak will involve:

  • Interviewing people who are ill
  • Interviewing others who ate at the venue but didn't have symptoms
  • Taking faecal and food samples (if appropriate); and
  • Inspecting the implicated venue

If there is enough evidence implicating a food premises within the area as a possible source of the outbreak, we may decide to carry out a food hygiene inspection (see for action we can take following a food inspection).

Advice to people with suspected food poisoning

Parents or guardians of children aged under five years or children or adults unable to maintain good standards of personal hygiene, are advised to keep them away from school or other establishments until they have also been symptom-free for 48 hours.

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