Food Poisoning Claims *
What is Food Poisoning?
Food Poisoning is a common illness which is caused by eating contaminated foods. Also known as foodborne illness, it can have serious consequences as it weakens the general health of a person, especially if symptoms persist. Organisms such as bacteria, parasites and viruses or their individual toxins of these organisms can contaminate the food, which can happen at any stage of its processing – from packaging to storage to preparation. It is usually caused by poor hygiene. Symptoms can start within hours of eating contaminated food and often include, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea and/or cramps.
The most common of food poisoning claims * are made against restaurants and hotels as they serve food to their guests. When making a public liability claim * for food poisoning it is important that it is proven that the poisoning was caused by the restaurant and not by other meal you ate that day.
Symptoms of food poisoning will vary from person to person but the most common symptoms are:
- Stomach Cramps
- Flu-like symptoms
In many cases, a dose of food poisoning may clear up within a day or two and no serious injury will have been sustained, however in some cases, it may lead to severe dehydration which may lead to the need for medical treatment in hospital.
Food poisoning is generally caused by poor hygiene and poor food safety standard of a kitchen and their staff, for example:
- Incorrect food handling – failure to wash hands before preparing food.
- Poor hygiene in preparation areas – making food in a dirty kitchen environment
- Incorrect storage of food
- Cross-contamination – raw food stored with cooked foods
- Mixing raw and cooked foods
- Food left out for long periods of time
- Undercooked food
- Negligence from kitchen and cleaning staff
- Chemicals and other dangerous substances coming in contact with food.
Types of Food Poisoning
- Salmonella – Most commonly found in meat, eggs, unpasteurised milk, poultry and seafood
- Coli – This is caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. To prevent this it is essential to wash hands before preparing food.
- Norovirus – This is highly contagious and is passed by poor hygiene which leads to contaminated food. This usually happens in closed environments.
- Cryptosporidium – This lives in water and poisoning usually occurs when drinking water is contaminated as a result of inadequate filtering.
- Campylobacter – This is the most common cause of food poisoning. This bacteria can be found in meat, poultry, untreated and unfiltered water and unpasteurised milk.
- Giardia – This bacteria is commonly found in untreated and contaminated water. This bacteria is common and can be found worldwide.
Shigella is a bacteria that is generally contracted through the consumption of contaminated food and water. Shigellosis is very common in foreign countries where standards of food hygiene may be lower. Shigella is commonly found in local tap water and un-chlorinated swimming pools. Symptoms associated with this are similar to those we get from other bacteria. Children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk. It is important to be aware that symptoms can turn into Shigella dysentery, especially among people staying in packed and confined hotels. Shigella is very infectious even in small quantities and can quickly spread through a group of people.
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