The Food Safety Team investigates food poisoning cases. Bacteria are responsible for most food poisoning cases but poisonous plants, chemicals or metals may occasionally cause problems.
In addition to food poisoning, other diseases may be spread by food e.g. typhoid and paratyphoid fever, campylobacter enteritis and listeriosis.
If you have been diagnosed as suffering from a communicable disease (usually following a request from your doctor to provide a faecal specimen or blood test) then depending on the type of infection we will telephone you, visit you, or send you a questionnaire to complete to try and find out where the infection has come from. The infection may have come from contaminated food, however many infectious diseases can be transmitted through non food routes such as environmental sources.
The purpose of the investigation is to identify the source of the infection, to prevent the spread of illness and to stop it from happening again.
Information and guidance on a wide range of infectious diseases may be found on the Public Health England website.
If you require medical assistance you are advised to see your GP, call the NHS on 111 or visit NHS Choices.
Please complete the Notification of Infectious Disease form which you can download from this page.
If you suspect you are suffering from food poisoning, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible and submit a faecal sample for examination.
If tests show that you do have food poisoning, we will be told by your doctor and we will write to you.
This is one of the ways to identify the bacteria that has caused your illness.
You may feel better but still have bacteria that can pass onto others
Please ensure you provide a sample as soon as possible if requested to do so. Please do not provide any urine.
Results will usually be available within 5 working days
Keep the food in the fridge and contact us on 01274 434392 for more information. An officer from the team will contact you and may wish to sample the food for microbiological examination to try and identify whether the food was the cause of illness.
Food handlers and care workers:
School children, children who attend day care nursery and childminders:
Certain infections, including E.Coli O157 and Salmonella typhi/paratyphi may require exclusion from work or school for a longer period of time until tests show you are no longer carrying the infection
If you or a member of your family is suffering from diarrhoea and/or vomiting, you should follow the advice:
The main causes of food poisoning and food borne illness are:
We all are, but babies, young children and the elderly can very quickly become very ill. Pregnant women, people who already have a pre-existing illness and anyone whose immune system is weakened can also be seriously affected.
The symptoms of food poisoning generally include some or all of the following:
The symptoms may be more severe in the young and the elderly
It is very important to drink plenty of fluids
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says that a useful way of preventing food poisoning is to remember the four C’s:
For further information, please visit the NHS website.