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Holiday Food Poisoning – Your Questions Answered

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

Each year at Jefferies, we see a surge in food poisoning claims during peak holiday time. 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. It’s also more likely that the bug is spread between holidaymakers.

Another reason why we tend to see claims like this is 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 and have become ill, rather than a single person.

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 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 differently, 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. Each of these 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 help 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 contact us to get free impartial advice from one of our solicitors. Call Jefferies Solicitors on 0800 342 3206 to speak to one of our team today.

Published on 18th March 2016.