South Holland DC
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Food Poisoning and Infectious Diseases

The Food, Health and Safety team work with Public Health England to investigate and manage confirmed or potential cases or outbreaks of food poisoning and infectious diseases.

Symptoms can occur from 1 hour after eating to several weeks depending on the cause. The average is 6-36 hours.

If your Doctor has taken a faecal sample and food poisoning is confirmed you will be contacted by South Holland Council by letter or phone and either fill in a questionnaire or be interviewed (usually over the phone).

Once a food poisoning notification or complaint is received, we will contact the person with the symptoms and ask them questions regarding:

  • what and where they've eaten prior to their illness
  • details of their symptoms
  • whether they've been on holiday abroad
  • whether or not their GP has taken a faecal sample
  • whether anybody else they ate with also experienced any symptoms.
  • We may request that person to provide a faecal sample.

Food poisoning outbreaks

If a number of people ate at the same venue and have the same food poisoning-type symptoms, this may be due to a Food Poisoning Outbreak. Our investigation into the outbreak will involve:

  • interviewing people who are ill
  • interviewing others who ate at the venue but didn't have symptoms
  • taking faecal and food samples (if appropriate)
  • inspecting the implicated venue.

If there is enough evidence implicating a food premises within the district as a possible source of the outbreak, we may decide to carry out a food hygiene inspection.

I think I have food poisoning. What should I do?

Depending on the severity of symptoms

If you work with food, in care or in schools do not return to work until you are symptom-free for 48 hours!

You must also inform your employer of your symptoms.

Parents, carers or guardians of children aged under five years or disabled adults are advised to keep them away from school or other establishments until they have also been symptom free for 48 hours.

Some serious infections can require you to be excluded from work, school or nursery on advice from medical practitioners, or consultants in public health.  For some types of infectious gastroenteritis caused by parasitic infection (e.g. cryptosporidium and giardia) exclusion for period of 2 weeks symptom-free will apply before going swimming because of the persistent nature of this type of infectious agent in the body.

Campylobacter

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. You can't see it, smell it or even taste it on food, but if it affects you, you won't forget it. At its worst, it can kill you.

The FSA is spearheading a campaign to bring together the whole food chain to tackle the problem. Farmers and producers will be asked to work harder to reduce the amount of bacteria on their raw poultry.

Local authorities, all the major supermarkets and key partners will be working together to make sure people know how to stay safe. Campylobacter advice is available at www.food.gov.uk/chicken .

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