Food Poisoning

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Investigation of Food Poisoning Notifications

All confirmed cases of food poisoning are notified to us by either the local hospitals or by General Practitioners. Every case will be visited by a member of the Food Team. The function of these visits is to ascertain whether there are any common factors linking individual cases. Examples of common factors may be common foods, clusters of cases in a locality or a common eating place. Figures for food poisonings are collated and sent to the Consultant in Communicable Disease Control and to the Public Health Laboratory Service.

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning is not a single illness but rather a group of illnesses that cause similar symptoms and are associated with food. Illness generally occurs between 24 and 72 hours after eating the food though some food poisonings can have prolonged incubation periods. The common symptoms can include diarrhoea, sickness, stomach pains and sometimes fever.

Illness may only last for a day or can continue for one or two weeks.

There may be no physical indication that the food is contaminated. Even food that looks and tastes good can cause food poisoning.

Each type of food poisoning has its individual characteristics and these are detailed in the information sheets attached to this site.

For further information on avoiding food poisoning, specific food poisoning infections or the control of food poisoning out breaks in nurseries please open the file at the right of this page and select the subject you require.

For further information on food poisoning contact the food safety team at the address on our home page by e-mail to