Food poisoning is caused by eating or drinking food or water contaminated by bacteria (germs) or the poisons (toxins) that they produce.
Common symptoms include:
- stomach cramps.
The last thing eaten is not necessarily the cause of the food poisoning as symptoms may not occur for days after.
What to do if you think you have food poisoning?
Visit your doctor. They will be able to provide advice on treatment and take a sample to confirm the type of food poisoning you have caught.
The role of Environmental Health
If the results of your sample confirms your illness was caused by food poisoning, the Environmental Health department will be notified.
We try to establish the cause of the food poisoning by questionnaire, and follow this up where necessary by inspecting food premises to help prevent other people suffering from food poisoning.
We also provide advice on precautions which should be taken, especially to people in groups where there is a high risk of passing on the infection. This includes food handlers, young children and people who look after the very young, the elderly or the ill.
Food handlers suffering from food poisoning must report their illness to their employer.
Even when the symptoms have cleared, you may still carry and excrete the bacteria for several weeks. Close contacts may also carry and excrete the bacteria, even through they have had no symptoms.
If you are a food handler, healthcare worker or work with the elderly or children under five years old, do not return to work until you have checked Food Handlers: Fitness to work.
Children should return to school and nursery when their symptoms have cleared for 48 hours.