Food safety

Our Food, Health and Safety team work with the Food Standards Agency. We investigate potential and manage cases or outbreaks of food poisoning and infectious diseases. To report a suspected food safety issue in the South Holland area, please email us foodhs@sholland.gov.uk.


Food poisoning

Illness symptoms can occur as soon as one hour after eating to several weeks later, depending on the cause. Generally, people will experience symptoms within 36 hours.

If your doctor has taken a stool sample and food poisoning is confirmed, we will contact you by letter or phone. We will ask you to complete a questionnaire or you may be interviewed, usually over the phone.

When a food poisoning complaint is received we will contact the person with the symptoms and ask them:

  • what and where they had eaten before they became ill
  • details of their symptoms
  • whether they've been on holiday abroad
  • whether their GP has taken a stool sample
  • whether anyone else they'd eaten with have experienced any symptoms
    • if they have, we may request that person also provide a stool sample.

Food poisoning outbreaks

If a number of people who ate at the same venue have the same food poisoning 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 stool and food samples, if appropriate
  • inspecting the suspected venue.

If there is enough evidence that a food premises in the district is a possible source of the outbreak, we may carry out a food hygiene inspection.

Food poisoning advice

If you think you have food poisoning, you should consider the following advice:

  • if you have mild symptoms, you could self-medicate at home
  • if you are concerned about your symptoms, you should contact your GP or call NHS Choices on 111
  • if your symptoms are severe, you should call 999.

If you work with food, in the care industry or in a school, you shouldn't return to work until you are symptom-free for 48 hours. You must also tell your employer of your symptoms.

Parents, carers or guardians of of disabled adults or children aged under the age of five are advised to keep them home from school or support settings until they've been symptom-free for 48 hours.

If you have a serious infection, you may be advised by a medical practitioner to stay away from work, school or nursery. For example, gastroenteritis is a type of infection that can be caused by a parasite, which can be highly infectious to others and you may need to stay home for two weeks until you're symptom-free.

Further information and advice about food poisoning and safe food preparation in the home is available from the Food Standards Agency website. Alternatively, you may be interested in a food safety or food hygiene course available from EHC UK.