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Report suspected food poisoning

Find out how to report food poisoning.

Published: 10 February 2021

Last updated: 5 May 2021

Food poisoning occurs where certain harmful bacteria are introduced into the body via food. These bacteria may themselves be poisonous and, if in sufficient numbers may cause short illness a few hours after eating contaminated food. Vomiting or diarrhoea are the most common symptoms in this case.

The time taken from eating food to feeling unwell varies from hours and in some cases up to 10 to 15 days after consumption depending on the type of bacteria that caused the food poisoning. It is therefore important to realise that it may not have been the last meal that you ate that caused you to feel unwell. 

What to do if you suspect you have food poisoning

We recommend in all instances that you report your illness to your G.P and that you provide a stool (faecal) sample to them so that it can be tested to determine what could have caused your illness.  Without this, the investigation that can be carried out by our Food Safety Officers is limited. Ensure you practice good personal hygiene, wash your hands frequently especially after visiting the toilet and before handling food and drink plenty of fluids

What happens next?

The laboratory will automatically notify the Environmental Health Department if there is a positive result. We investigate cases of food poisoning which are reported to us by a GP via Public Health England.

The Environmental Health Department may contact you to try to identify how you became infected and to ensure it cannot be passed on.

If you work with food, work with children under five or the elderly, you should let your employer know that you are suffering from food poisoning and abstain from work until 48 hours after your symptoms cease (occasionally extended exclusion may be required; we will give you instructions when this is necessary). This is to prevent further spread of the bacteria to others especially those who are vulnerable.

Occasionally additional samples may be necessary to confirm that the infection has cleared.

Please use Report it on the website to report food poisoning.