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Food Poisoning

For more detailed information on consumer issues, please go to safefood.netsafefood is the all-island body, whose role is to promote awareness and knowledge of food safety and nutrition on the island of Ireland.

Food poisoning happens when food that has been contaminated with bacteria is eaten.

It can happen if food:

  • is not cooked or reheated thoroughly
  • is handled by someone who has not washed their hands or who is ill
  • is not stored correctly – for example, it has not been frozen or chilled
  • is left exposed in the air or left out of a fridge or freezer for too long
  • is eaten after its 'use by' date
  • if animals or insects come in contact with the food

Any kind of food can cause food poisoning.

What should you do if you think you have food poisoning?

If you suspect you have food poisoning you should contact your G.P. The symptoms of food poisoning can occur days after eating contaminated food. You may suffer nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhoea and/or high temperature.

Make a note of when and where you purchased the suspect food, when you first felt ill and what your symptoms were. If you still have any of the suspect food, put it in a sealed container and store it in the fridge or freezer.

If your G.P. confirms that you have food poisoning, you should fill in our Make a Complaint form.

You may also contact your local environmental health officer. If other people report illness associated with similar products or premises, your report will help highlight a potential food poisoning outbreak.

See also our leaflet about reducing food poisoning for particularly vulnerable groups of people.