Food poisoning or more generally food-borne disease can be an unpleasant illness.

Typically, symptoms included vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, and fever. Most healthy individuals will recover after a short period of illness. However, food borne diseases can cause serious illness in some groups of people and in extreme circumstances even cause death.

Those most at risk are the very young, the very old and those people who are already chronically ill. Pregnant women must also take particular care with what they eat and drink and follow advice given to them by their doctor or midwife.

Possible food poisoning and what to do

You can report an incident of food poisoning online by completing the form ‘report food poisoning’ found below. We also recommend that you submit a stool sample to your General Practitioner (GP) to ascertain the cause of your illness and to rule out common viral infections such as norovirus. Phone your General Practitioner to arrange to get a sample pot and get someone else to collect the pot from the General Practitioner if you are too unwell to leave home yourself. If you become aware of other members of your group that are also unwell, please encourage them to report it and visit their General Practitioner.

Working with food poisoning symptoms

People who prepare food as part of their work must inform their employers of their illness and should not return to work within 48 hours of the last symptom. This is a legal requirement and failure to report symptoms could lead to prosecution of the individual rather than the business.

If you do not work with food then as a general guide most people can return to work 24 hours after the symptoms have stopped.

If you are in doubt whether you should return to work, please contact the food safety team on 0300 123 2224.

Should my child go to nursery if they are suffering from food poisoning symptoms

Children under 5-years-old should not attend nursery or school until 48 hours after their diarrhoea and/or vomiting have settled.

Last reviewed: May 23, 2023 by Adam

Next review due: November 23, 2023

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