Food Poisoning

If you become ill with sickness and/or diarrhoea it may be symptoms of food poisoning. Food poisoning is tested by giving a faecal sample.

It may not be due to your last meal

It is common to assume that gastrointestinal illness occurs soon after a 'suspect' meal. Some causes of food poisoning have incubation periods of a few hours. Most take days to cause symptoms.

Food is not always the cause

The most common forms of food poisoning generally result in illness characterised by diarrhoea and/or vomiting. However, the majority of cases of sickness are caused by a virus, which is spread from person to person, and not through food.

What to do if you suspect you have food poisoning

  • Visit your GP, and submit a sample.
  • If you handle food in the course of your work, inform your employer immediately and refrain from work until you have not experienced any symptoms for a 48 hour period.
  • Avoid passing the infection by washing your hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
  • If you think your symptoms may be caused by food poisoning, you can notify Environmental Health by completing our online food poisoning questionnaire.
  • Children under five should be kept away from nurseries until 48 hours after their symptoms cease.

Report your illness

Notify Environmental Health and complete the online food poisoning questionnaire.

If you have submitted a stool sample via your GP, the laboratory is required to notify the Environmental Health Department if there is a positive result.

If you have submitted our food poisoning questionnaire, the Environmental Health Department may contact you to get further information, if there is evidence to suggest your illness may be linked to a food business.