Food poisoning

How to identify, prevent, treat and report incidents of food poisoning.

Report food poisoning

This is illness caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water and can be caused by bacteria (germs). Although it can affect everyone, it is more likely to affect people with less resistance to illness such as the elderly, babies, young children and pregnant women.

Common symptoms of food-borne illness, a viral infection or other cause include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • stomach cramps

Symptoms appear between 24 hours and two days of eating the food, although with some types of food poisoning symptoms can take longer to appear. The last thing eaten is not necessarily the cause of the food poisoning. The symptoms usually last between one and seven days, although this may be longer. All the time you have the symptoms, and in some cases for some time after, you can still be infectious, so good personal hygiene is very important.

If you, or a member of your family have food poisoning, take care with your hygiene, and in particular, wash your hands thoroughly:

  • after using the toilet
  • before handling food
  • before eating
  • before feeding others.

If you are a food handler, healthcare worker or work with the elderly or children under five, and you think you are suffering from food poisoning it is important to visit your doctor, submit a stool sample and contact the commercial services team. It is also important that you inform your employer.

Further information on food poisoning

There are many types of food-borne illness caused by bacteria. See information on the different types of food poisoning and infectious diseases on the Public Health England website, including advice for the public on avoiding infection on farm visits.

Contact details

Hammersmith & Fulham Council
The Environment Department
Food and Safety Team
Hammersmith Town Hall
W6 9JU

020 8753 1081

Report food poisoning

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