If you suspect you are suffering from an infectious disease, including food poisoning, it is recommended that you consult your GP as soon as possible. please see our Food Poisoning webpage for further information. If you think you have been infected following a visit to a premises in Dudley, please make a food complaint or a health and safety complaint to us.
Food poisoning may be caused by a variety of sources including:
Food poisoning commonly occurs when:
Bacteria are the most common cause of food poisoning. Bacteria can multiply in food and usually a large number of bacteria are required to make people ill.
Viruses do not multiply in food but a smaller number are required to cause illness. Airborne infection is common and can spread easily from person to person.
Chemical food poisoning is rare and usually results from accidental ingestion of poisonous chemicals.
Metals can cause food poisoning; if food becomes contaminated with metals such as lead and mercury and is ingested it can cause illness.
Poisonous plants and animals such as Japanese Puffer Fish, Deadly Nightshade and certain toadstools can cause illness when ingested.
|Agent||Source||Incubation period||Symptoms & usual duration|
|Salmonella||Raw meat, poultry, eggs, unpasteurised milk, pets, terrapins, infected food handlers.||6-72 hours; usually 12-36 hours||Diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain 1-5 days|
|Campylobacter||Raw meat, poultry, raw/bird pecked milk, untreated water, pets.||1-11 days; usually 2-5 days||Abdominal pain, diarrhoea 2-5 days|
|Found in environment, cattle, sheep, silage, unpasteurised milk products including soft cheeses, pates.||Variable; usually 4-21 days||Fever, affects central nervous system Variable|
|Human nose, mouth, cuts and wounds.||1-7 hours; usually 2-4 hours||Vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fainting 6-24 hours|
|Faeces of animal and man, soil (on vegetable), dust, sewage.||8-22 hours; usually 12-18 hours||Diarrhoea, abdominal pain 12-48 hours|
(toxin in food)
|Cereal products, especially rice, spices, dust, soil.||1-5 hours||Vomiting, abdominal pain, some diarrhoea 1-2 days|
(toxin in gut)
|Cereal products, especially rice, spices, dust, soil.||8-16 hours||Diarrhoea, abdominal pain, some vomiting 1-2 days|
|Sea water, shellfish.||2-48 hours; usually 10-18 hours||Diarrhoea, abdominal pain, some vomiting 2-5 days|
|Escherichia coli (infective)||Animal origins – cattle, sheep, humans, sewage, meat & raw milk.||12-72 hours; usually 12-24 hours||Diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever 2-3 days|
|Clostridium botulinum||Soil, meat, fish and vegetables||8 hours to 8 days; usually 12-36 hours||Central nervous system (difficulty breathing, double vision, nerve paralysis), diarrhoea, vomiting Variable can be fatal|
|Chemicals (e.g. metallic poisons, pesticides, etc)||Less than 1 hours||Vomiting, abdominal pain, possibly effects on central nervous system|
|Poisonous plants/animals||Less than 15 hours||Vomiting, abdominal pain, possibly effects on central nervous system|
|Norwalk Virus||24-48 hours||Vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain|
The three basic steps to prevent food poisoning are:
The Health Protection Agency website has further information on Infectious Diseases. Alternatively, you can discuss any specific queries or concerns you may have with an environmental health officer. please contact us using the details below.