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Can I make a compensation claim for food poisoning?

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Food poisoning is the most common type of food injury, with the number of food poisoning cases increasing year on year to create one of the biggest public health problems to date. It is estimated that one in every ten people in the UK are affected from food poisoning each year – that’s up to 5.5 million people.

The chances are that we will all fall victim to food poisoning at some point during our lives. The majority of which however only results in symptoms that are thankfully mild and so is often treated at home, however there are those unfortunate occasions where you may find yourself taking a trip to the local GP. So next time the bug sets in, there are some things that you may want to consider.

Cause and symptoms

Food poisoning is caused when food becomes contaminated by microbes and/or toxic substances; the most common of which being e.coli and salmonella. It can be found in many foods including;

  • Meat, fish and poultry.
  • Eggs and raw egg products (i.e. mayonnaise, and cake batter)
  • Cheeses (mould-ripened and soft)
  • Cooked foods

The symptoms of food poisoning vary since different bugs cause different symptoms to occur. This includes, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and even flu like symptoms.

Contrary to the common misconception, symptoms can appear in as little as 30 minutes to a few weeks and entirely depend on the type of microbes/toxins ingested.

Next steps

If you do suspect that you have food poisoning, then you should follow the ‘DMR’ regime as set out by the Foods Standards Agency;

Dehydration – drink plenty of fluids.

Medical assistance – if you are concerned about your health or the health of someone else, then you should contact your GP.

Reporting – if you think that your illness was caused by food prepared outside the home, report the incident to your local council environmental health service.

Can I make a claim?

If you believe that the cause of the food poisoning was as a result of someone else’s negligence, then you may want to consider making a claim. Our dedicated personal injury team will be happy to discuss this with you and advise you of the next steps, and what to expect.

In the event that you do wish to make a claim, we strongly advise that you retain any receipts from where the food was purchased (i.e. restaurant), along with any other evidence which can be used to support the allegation and where the problem originated from. It is also important to visit your GP as soon as it is practically possible to ensure that the correct treatment is obtained and any diagnosis is formally recorded.

If you, or anyone you may know needs any further information in respect of making a claim, then please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team on 0175 321 6399.

By Beth Middleton, trainee solicitor in the personal injury department

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