Food Hygiene: What’s the Reality?

Food poisoning is caused by the contamination of something that you eat. Usually, it’s down to one of three bacteria: salmonella, E.coli or campylobacter. However, it can also come from the UK’s most common stomach bug, the norovirus.

Generally, it takes between one and three days after eating the infected food, to develop the symptoms of food poisoning, which include sickness, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

The most common causes of poisoning are out of date produce, undercooked meat, unrefrigerated ingredients and dirty or sick people touching the food prior to you eating it.

In order to combat infection, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is now running a scheme where all eatery kitchens are inspected and rated out of five. The inspections take place in anywhere that members of the public can eat, including hotels, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets and cafés. Once an inspection has taken place, they’ll issue their rating and depending on the establishment’s score, improvements may be necessary.

If you’re unsure about the ratings of establishments in your area, you can check the government website where you’ll be able to find the official ratings for all eateries that are local to you.

A report issued by the government in June this year, suggests that 500,000 people are diagnosed with food poisoning, caused by specific bugs; however, with the unknown pathogens that are detected in other suffers, the number is likely to be more like double that number. This fits in with the NHS estimations of between 600,000 and 1 million sufferers every year.

When you mention food poisoning, people automatically think of salmonella, but despite causing the most hospital admissions – around 2,500 each year – the most common cause of food poisoning is actually campylobacter, with around 280,000 diagnosed cases a year.


If a business is the cause of your food poisoning then you’re entitled to make a claim for compensation for the pain and suffering the illness has caused. However, you need to be able to prove that the establishment you’ve named is the cause of our bout of food poisoning.

Your doctor will be able to supply the medical evidence you need, although an admission of guilt or other similar cases will help your claim further.

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