Skip to main content

Food poisoning is caused by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated by bacteria and/or viruses (germs). It can be caught within the home, out of the home or abroad.

Common symptoms of food poisoning

  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • diarrhoea
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • stomach cramps
  • a high temperature of 38°C or above
  • feeling generally unwell - such as feeling tired or having aches and chills

Typically, illness does not occur for hours or days after ingesting the food or drink that caused the infection. This means that the last thing you consumed isn’t always what made you unwell.

If you are suffering from the symptoms of food poisoning, without delay, please contact your doctor or Dudley MBC’s Food Team to arrange for a stool sample to be sent to the laboratory for testing.

Please note that we’re unable to obtain compensation from a business or pursue claims for personal injury. If you wish to seek compensation, you should contact the business directly and/or seek your own legal advice. Complaints about poor-quality food and poor customer service should be made directly to the business or the ordering platform.

Do you need to stay off work or school?

Children should not attend school or other childcare settings until they have been symptom free for 48 hours and may need supervision to make sure that they wash their hands properly.

If you work in the food industry (including food preparation and handling) or in a healthcare setting and have symptoms of food poisoning, diarrhoea and/or abdominal pains, it is very important that you notify your manager of your illness and do not go to work for at least 48 hours after the symptoms have ceased.

Please note that if you are diagnosed with a specific infection, a different exclusion period may be required.

The Food Standards Agency document Food Handlers: Fitness to Work provides regulatory and best practice advice for food businesses and food business employees with regard to illness, exclusion from work and returning to work.

General advice for avoiding food poisoning

  • Wash you hands thoroughly with soap and warm water:
    • before preparing and eating food
    • after handling raw food
    • after going to the toilet or changing a baby's nappy
    • after contact with pets and other animals
    • after working in the garden
  • Keep cooked food away from raw food
  • Store raw foods below cooked or ready-to-eat foods in the fridge to prevent contamination
  • Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, so that it is piping hot, as this will destroy any campylobacter. If cooking chicken then ensure it is cooked until the juices run clear
  • Those affected should not prepare food for others until they are 48 hours symptom free
  • Keep all kitchen surfaces and equipment including knives, chopping boards, and dishcloths clean
  • Do not drink untreated water from lakes, rivers, or streams

You should pay special attention to hygiene during farm visits, washing hands with soap and water after any contact with animals, and eating only in designated areas.

Further information

Further information about food poisoning can be found at: