The Health Protection Agency provides a wealth of information on food poisoning.
We investigate notifications of infectious diseases (particularly food poisoning) from GPs, the public, businesses and other local authorities. In fact, Waveney District Council's Food and Safety team are formally notified by local doctors and local hospitals when people living in the district are found to be suffering from food poisoning. When we receieve notification, the circumstances surrounding the illness are looked into to try to identify, where possible, the cause of the illness and to give advice so that more people do not become ill.
Once a food poisoning notification is received, we will contact the person with the symptoms and ask them questions regarding:
- what and where they have eaten prior to their illness
- details of their symptoms
- whether they have been abroad recently
- whether or not their GP has taken a faecal sample
- whether anybody else they ate with has experienced any symptoms
We may request that person to provide a faecal sample.
If a person with symptoms is a food handler or health care/nursery worker who has direct contact, or contact through serving food, with highly susceptible persons for whom an intestinal infection would have serious consequences, they cannot return to work until they are symptom-free for 48 hours. They must also inform their employer of their symptoms.
If a number of people ate at the same venue and have the same food poisoning-type symptoms, this may be due to a food poisoning outbreak, which we may need to investigate. Our investigation into the outbreak will involve:
- interviewing people who are ill
- interviewing others who ate at the venue but have no symptoms
- taking faecal and food samples (if appropriate)
- inspecting the implicated venue
If there is enough evidence implicating a food premises within the area as a possible source of the outbreak, we may decide to carry out a food hygiene inspection.
Parents or guardians of children aged under five years or children or adults who are unable to implement good standards of personal hygiene, are advised to keep them away from school or other establishments until they have been symptom-free for 48 hours.
To read about the common bugs that cause food poisoning, the website of our partner council Suffolk Coastal District Council contains various leaflets you can read in pdf format.