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Holiday Food Poisoning – Your Questions Answered

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Going on holiday is supposed to be a great time of year for everyone. Which is why a case of holiday food poisoning can turn a highlight into a nightmare.

This Easter, holidaymakers will once again be visiting far-flung locations, often on cruises and package holidays. Holiday food poisoning can happen anywhere, but types of breaks involving groups of people in a contained space can lead to more claims being made, as it’s easier to prove where it originated.

Altrincham-based Jefferies Solicitors sees a surge in food poisoning claims during peak holiday times such as Easter. Here, managing director Michael Jefferies, explains why certain types of holiday can make you more vulnerable to food poisoning and whether it’s possible to claim compensation.

Which type of holiday is most common for food poisoning claims?

We see the majority of food poisoning claims on package holidays, all-inclusive holidays and cruises, as this is when large groups of holidaymakers are staying together within a contained space. On cruise ships or in holiday resorts, there is a higher chance of groups of people suffering from food poisoning at a similar time after visiting the same food outlet or spreading the bug more easily between themselves.

The reason why we tend to see claims like this is also because it is easier to prove that a restaurant or food outlet failed to meet the right food hygiene standards if there is a group of people who went to the same place, rather than just one instance.

When can I claim compensation?

Under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, food retailers are required to sell food that does not contain the bacteria that causes food poisoning. If the food contained food poisoning bacteria, you have suffered food poisoning symptoms or the infected food gave you food poisoning, you have a valid claim for claiming compensation.

This can happen anywhere – even Michelin starred restaurants are not immune. There have been cases of food poisoning at Heston Blumenthal’s two famous restaurants, The Fat Duck and Dinner by Heston, after several customers fell ill from the norovirus bug from uncooked oysters.

It’s happened to me – what do I do next?

First of all, it’s important to visit the doctor or hospital for the right treatment. Food poisoning affects everyone in a different way, and it can be very serious, especially if your immune system is already compromised. The most common types of bacterial poisoning are Botulism, E-coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter, which often present mild symptoms but can lead to hospitalisation in some cases.

It’s a good idea to keep any receipts from the restaurant, as well as any medical expenses such as clinic visits or medication. Make sure that you take a note of any witnesses who were at the same place, as this will make it easier to prove where the poisoning originated.

How do I claim?

The best way to check if you are entitled to compensation is to contact a personal injury lawyer.

Visit our food poisoning page to start your claim today or get free impartial advice from one of our solicitors. Alternatively, call Jefferies Solicitors on 0800 342 3206 to speak to one of our team today.

Published on 18th March 2016.