What is food poisoning?

Most of us have experienced a mild form of food poisoning at one time or another.  Usually symptoms are not severe and subside within a week, but that’s not always the case. Serious food poisoning can be life threatening and leave sufferers with severe and ongoing health problems.  Food poisoning occurs after eating food or drink infected with bacteria, toxic chemicals, viruses or even parasites. The most common cause of food poisoning is bacterial contamination. Much of the time, there is no way to tell whether food is contaminated – contaminants are often odourless, tasteless and colourless.

What causes food poisoning?

The most commonly occurring types of bacterial food poisoning are salmonella, E-coli, botulism and campylobacter. Salmonella Salmonella bacteria can only be killed by high temperatures, which is why it’s vital to cook foods at a sufficiently high heat.  Foods most prone to carrying salmonella are chicken, eggs and egg products such as mayonnaise or raw milk.  Salmonella is also found in untreated water and seafood. Salmonella is spread very easily to worktops, kitchen surfaces and any other items or utensils that might have come into contact with infected produce. Once contracted, Salmonella can be a persistent and debilitating condition, in some cases recurring throughout the sufferer’s lifetime. E-coli E-coli is a commonly occurring bacteria found in the intestines of healthy, warm-blooded animals (including humans). However, certain strains of E-coli can be very harmful, causing intense stomach cramps, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea if ingested. High standards of cleanliness, such as hand washing and being careful to avoid cross contamination between raw foods during preparation as well as thorough cooking at sufficient temperatures will kill E-coli bacteria. Botulism Food poisoning known as botulism occurs when a bacterium called clostridium botulinum produces the toxin known as botulin. Like salmonella, botulin is destroyed at high temperatures, so food that has been cooked properly should not pose a risk. Campylobacter One of the most common causes of food poisoning in the UK, campylobacter is usually contracted from poorly cooked meat, especially chicken, unpasteurised milk and untreated water.  Undercooked chicken liver and chicken liver paté are also common culprits.

Diagnosis

If you experience symptoms consistent with food poisoning, you should seek medical help immediately.  Extreme cases can cause damage to the digestive tract and ongoing health problems.  In rare cases, food poisoning can result in death. Although it’s advisable to see a doctor strait away, it may be that you have to simply wait for the illness to work its way out of your system.  However, your doctor will be concerned about your fluid levels and you may need to have fluids administered intravenously.  You may also be prescribed antibiotics.

How to Claim

If you have contracted food poisoning after eating food that was incorrectly stored or prepared you may be entitled to claim compensation.  It’s important to speak to a claims expert straight away as there are time limits within which you must submit your claim. For more information on how Cute Injury can help, get in touch today using the options below...

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