We all think that we know about food hygiene and food poisoning and may even have diagnosed ourselves with food poisoning prior to starting a food poisoning claim. The truth is that food hygiene is a complex area of science and the reason for food poisoning outbreaks and Girvan food poisoning cases can be very complicated to work out.
What exactly is food poisoning?
Food poisoning is a short illness that usually occurs between one and thirty six hours after eating contaminated food. It involves several unpleasant symptoms. Briefly, symptoms of food poisoning often include a combination of
- Stomach pains/stomach ache
- Diarrhoea – the runs
- Vomiting – being sick
- Nausea – feeling sick
- Fever – a high temperature
It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, moulds, chemicals and poisonous metals, plants or fish. In cases of bacterial food poisoning a lot of bacteria are needed to make you ill and so the bacteria has to have an opportunity to grow to large numbers in the food. Food poisoning is a very unpleasant illness but many people recover within a few days and most will be fine within a few weeks. However, a number of people will suffer from life threatening complications and some may even die.
There are groups of people who are especially vulnerable to food poisoning. In many cases this is because their immune systems are less able to fight off the infection. The main groups of people are:
- Pregnant women and their unborn babies
- Young children
- The elderly
- People who are immunocompromised because they are already ill or because they are having medical treatment (e.g. chemotherapy)
As well as micro-organisms, there are other diseases that can be spread by food. These are called foodborne diseases. Micro-organisms that make you ill are called pathogens. The big difference between food poisoning micro-organisms and foodborne disease micro-organisms is that the foodborne diseases don’t need food to spread because only small numbers of them are needed to make you ill. Many of the foodborne diseases can be caught directly from other humans or from animals as well as from contaminated food. Some of the foodborne disease micro-organisms can cause serious complications. One, called E.coli O157, causes a type of kidney failure. Complications can cause permanent damage to the patients’ health or death.
Even though there are differences between foodborne diseases and food poisoning, the food safety precautions needed to prevent them both are the same!
How can you start a food poisoning compensation claim?
Starting a Girvan food poisoning claim is quite easy. The trickier part is making sure that you have grounds to start an injury solicitor Girvan food poisoning claim in the first place! There are three organisations that can help with this and you should call them all:
- Your family doctor – to diagnose food poisoning
- Your local environmental health department – to investigate the outbreak
- Accident Advice Helpline – to help with the legal aspects