In most cases, food poisoning usually shows up hours or days after you’ve eaten something that made you sick. But different organisms work at different speeds.

Food Poisoning can ONLY be confirmed by a microbiologist after they have looked at a stool sample (a sample of your faeces  or poo) under a microscope.

If you suspect you have food poisoning you MUST visit your Dr and your Dr MUST ask you for a stool sample to be sent off for testing and then diagnosis.

Once the results have been confirmed, the Dr will notify the Health Protection Agency who will notify the Food safety team here at Ashfield District Council.

There are many types of food poisoning but the most common are Campylobactor and Salmonella.

Food poisoning symptoms also occur from virus illness, noro virus and gastroenteritis. These may be as distressing but are self limiting in that they usually pass after around 48- 72 hours.

If your symptoms persist you should consult your GP.

If you suspect you do have food poisoning from eating at a premises, you will need to answer questions and complete a food diary based on what you have eaten in the 10-14 days before you became ill.

Salmonella is another one of the most common causes of food poisoning and are bacteria often found living in food, which can cause illness in people.

How do you get Salmonella?

  • Usually from eating raw or undercooked food, particularly meat, poultry and eggs or foods that have been in contact with these.
  • By drinking unpasteurised, contaminated milk.
  • Person to person spread can occur, particularly from contact with individuals with diarrhoea. • Some exotic pets particularly reptiles carry salmonella as part of their normal gut flora, and thorough hand washing must follow caring for such pets.

Symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pains and cramps
  • High temperature
  • Headache
  • Malaise (tiredness)

Symptoms usually develop 12-72 hours after becoming infected and usually last 4-7 days.

The infection often clears without treatment although some people remain infectious for longer.

Anyone can get salmonella, but young children, the elderly and people whose immune systems are not working properly have a greater risk of becoming seriously unwell.

How is Salmonella treated?

In most cases symptoms clear without treatment. However in some young children and the elderly occasionally antibiotics may be prescribed.

It is essential to complete the course even if your symptoms have improved.

You should drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated. 

How can I avoid catching Salmonella?

  • By thoroughly cooking all foods, especially meat, poultry and eggs as salmonella is destroyed by cooking.
  • By keeping raw meat away from cooked foods and ready to eat foods (foods that will not be cooked e.g. salad, bread, cheese etc.).
  • Keep all kitchen surfaces and equipment including knives, chopping boards and dish cloths clean.
  • Cleaning work surfaces, crockery and utensils thoroughly in hot water and detergent after they have been used for raw meat.
  • Only drink pasteurised milk and avoid drinking untreated water (e.g. from lakes and streams).
  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry with clean paper towel/clean hand towel
  • After going to the toilet
  • After changing babies nappies
  • After contact with pets and animals
  • Before preparing, serving and eating food
  • After handling raw food
  • If no water is available to clean hands, where possible you can use disposable wet wipes.
  • Keep pets away from food, crockery and worktops.

Do I need to stay off work or school?

Yes – while you are ill and have symptoms you are infectious.

You should refrain from work or school/college until you have been free of any symptoms for at You can return to work or school once you have been free from diarrhoea for 48 hour