Food poisoning is a common illness for which reportedly, over 100,000 people seek treatment for every year.
Bacterial infection can come from a number of sources. From a food producer or retailer, from a restaurant, or
from a school or hospital canteen.
Some of the main causes are where hygiene standards in kitchens and canteens have fallen below the required levels, and also where proper care has not been taken in the preparation food, or in the storage of food products.
Symptoms normally occur within a few hours, but can take up to 10 days after consuming contaminated food or water. Harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites can enter the stomach producing gastric infections often referred to as gastroenteritis.
This is found in dairy products, uncooked poultry and eggs. It can be transmitted by birds and insects. Salmonella is responsible for the majority of illnesses requiring hospital admission. At it’s worst can it can cause Sepsis if the bacteria enters the bloodstream which could prove to be life threatening. There is also the risk, that once contracted that it can reoccur and can produce on going bowel issues.
Found in contaminated meat that we eat, as well as in vegetables and fruit. It can be destroyed by washing ingredients and cooking food thoroughly.
This virus is responsible for a large proportion of the annual number of reported illnesses. It is found commonplace in enclosed enviroments such as hospitals, schools, care homes and cruise ships. It is highly contagious and transmitted as a result for poor hygiene or by the of eating contaminated food.
Campylobacter (a common bacteria found in unpasterised milk, untreated water and undercooked meat including beef and poultry.)
Shigella dysentery (a bacterial infection found in contaminated water.)
Giardia Lamblia (a parasitic infection transmitted by contaminated swimming pool water or drinking water.)
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 states that a retailer of food must not sell a product that contains harmful bacteria. If it can be proven that
the food consumed was unsafe and as a result you were made ill, you are able to sue the provider or producer for damages.
This could be the manufacturing of the product, or the importer, or retailer such as a supermarket. Poisoning could be as a result of negligence on behalf of a restaurant in the preparation of the food or poor hygiene.
If you suspect you have been a victim of food poisoning, seek immediate medical advice. It is important to notify your local Enviroment Health Department.
It will be necessary to stay off work or school for a couple of days and drink plenty of water. In ensuring a claim is successful it may be necessary to seek a medical report from a Gastoenterologist.
Compensation amounts are set by the Judicial Studies Board (JSB).
Levels of compensation will be determined by the pain and suffering caused. The extent of harm and the length of time for recovery. Whether there are any harmful lasting effects, such as damage to the intestinal walls, lining of the stomach or ongoing complications.
Minor symptoms of stomach pain requiring a couple of days, rest can range from £500 to £2,000. More serious claims requiring hospitalisation can range from £3,000 to £7,000, where as symptoms that last many weeks can gain compensation of over £20,000.
Claims with a large group are easier to prove, some food poisoning bacteria take a long time for incubation that can make claims more difficult.