The main causes of food poisoning and food borne illness are:
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. Although thorough cooking kills campylobacter, it is not just poorly cooked poultry such as chicken and turkey that can spread it. Splashing water from washing the meat can spread it as well.
Follow these 4 rules to prevent campylobacter causing food poisoning:-
We all are, but babies, young children and the elderly can very quickly become very ill when infected. Pregnant women, people who already have a pre-existing illness, and anyone whose immune system is weakened can also be seriously affected by food borne illness/food poisoning.
There are many types of food borne illness/food poisoning caused by different bacteria. The most common include:
Symptoms include stomach cramps and severe diarrhoea but rarely vomiting. They can begin 2-10 days after eating contaminated food but usually within 2-5 days. Main sources are undercooked chicken and other meats, handling pets, cross-contamination to other foods, raw milk and contaminated water. This organism is the most common cause of acute diarrhoea in adults.
Symptoms include stomach pain, fever, diarrhoea and vomiting. It usually takes about 12-48 hours for the illness to develop. Symptoms can be much more severe in the young and elderly. Main sources are undercooked meat and poultry, untreated milk and raw or undercooked eggs. This organism is the second most common form of food poisoning.
Symptoms include severe bloody diarrhoea, and the infection can lead to serious kidney damage in children. Main sources are undercooked beefburgers and minced beef, contaminated cooked meats and unpasteurised milk. This organism has also been linked to farms.
Symptoms include stomach pains and vomiting, 1-6 hours after eating and it usually takes 12-24 hours for symptoms to subside. This bacteria is found on humans (particularly in the nose, throat, skin and ears) and is transferred to food through poor hygiene practices.
Mild flu-like illness in healthy people, but which can cause septicaemia and meningitis in the young and elderly. Listeria can lead to stillbirth and miscarriage or meningitis in the new-born baby. Sources include unpasteurised soft cheeses (such as Brie and Camembert) and meat pates. Prevention of food poisoning from Listeria is more difficult than other organisms as it can multiply rapidly at refrigeration temperatures. It is recommended therefore that pregnant women do not eat the above products.
Follow the services Top Ten Tips to try and reduce food borne illness:
Food borne illness/food poisoning can spread quickly, partly because everyone in the family could have eaten the same food and partly because the bacteria may be picked up by close family contact (e.g. nursing the sick). Viruses can also cause illness, similar to food poisoning and they also spread very quickly. If you suspect you are suffering from food borne illness/food poisoning it is recommended that you visit your doctor as soon as possible, who might ask you to submit a sample for examination. Samples are useful in that they might be able to show which food-borne illness/food poisoning you are suffering from, or could rule out a food-poisoning organism. Viruses can also be detected. Consult your doctor immediately if the person affected is a baby, elderly or has an existing illness or condition or if symptoms are prolonged or severe (e.g. bloody diarrhoea).
If you or a member of your family are suffering from the symptoms of food poisoning, it is recommended that you follow the advice below to try and prevent the spread of the illness:
You should contact this service. They will also ask you a number of questions relating to other foods you may have eaten, places visited and your symptoms. Where appropriate officers will visit any suspected premises to carry out an inspection or take food samples for analysis you may need to provide a faecal sample for analysis. Leaflets giving information about food poisoning and how to prevent it are available from the Food Team. Further information is available on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website.
Food poisoning can often be caused due to bad practices at BBQ's. The FSA have produced a leaflet giving advice about this issue. Copies are available from the Food Team or from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website.
Staff from the Food Team along with a Consultant in Communicable Diseases from Public Health England investigate all infectious diseases.
This Service has produced a number of leaflets on the common causes of food poisoning. Further information can be found on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website.