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True of false? You can still get food poisoning from vegetarian food


Many people associate food poisoning exclusively with meat, meat products and fish. There are, however, many other high risk foods, including food poisoning from vegetarian food. Often requiring little or no treatment or preparation, these foods provide perfect breeding grounds for various types of food poisoning bacteria.

Such foods include, for instance:

  • Coconuts, dairy products, eggs
  • Herbs, lentils and lettuce
  • Melons, squash and nuts
  • Rice, soft fruits and sprouting beans
  • Tofu, vegetables
  • Fresh fruits and juices

According to the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC)  ‘Vegetarian Food Hygiene Guide‘, all of these foods have been linked to outbreaks of food poisoning in Europe, the UK and the USA.


Food poisoning from vegetarian food

Food poisoning bacteria associated with vegetarian foods include, for example:

  • Bacillus cereus: cheese products, cereal products, rice
  • Clostridium botulinum: honey, tinned vegetables, fresh yoghurt purées
  • Clostridium perfringens: unpeeled raw vegetables and beans
  • E. coli: unpasteurised fresh fruit juices, salad and vegetable crops that have been in contact with untreated slurry or raw sewage
  • Listeria monocytogenes: vegetables, ice cream, soft cheeses
  • Salmonella: coconuts, sprouting beans, eggs
  • Staphylococcus aureus: eggs, dairy products

This, of course, means yes, it is true that you can still get food poisoning from vegetarian food.


Causes of food poisoning from vegetarian food

Food poisoning infections by vegetarian food are often caused by:

  • Lack of adequate cleaning and disinfection
  • Improper cooking
  • Inadequate chilling
  • Cross-contamination

In food preparation premises, cross-contamination may occur as a result of indirect or direct contact with:

  • Dirty hands
  • Food contact surfaces that are contaminated
  • Infected food handlers
  • Other contaminated foods
  • Kitchen equipment used for meat preparation
  • Pests and pets

To prevent food poisoning outbreaks, food-related businesses must comply with the 1990 Food Safety Act and the EC Regulation 852/2004.

They must also:

  • Prepare and implement HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) food safety

    management procedures

  • Ensure they and others working for them have adequate food hygiene training
  • Put that training into practice

There are also many additional requirements, details of which can be found on the RBKC Web page hyperlinked above.


Accident Advice Helpline

If you have contracted food poisoning from vegetarian food at a restaurant, you could be eligible to claim for compensation.

We have been successfully conducting food poisoning claims, claims for injuries by slips, trips and falls and other personal injury claims for in excess of 15 years. Take advantage of our experience and get the compensation you deserve by calling 0800 689 5659.