Skip navigation

Report suspected food poisoning

What to do if you think you have food poisoning

If you suspect you are suffering from food poisoning, you should seek medical advice from your GP or contact NHS 111

Your GP may arrange for a faecal (stool) sample which will be sent to a laboratory for testing. If this test is positive, we will automatically be told about the result and may contact you to try to discover the likely source of the infection.

Without confirmation from the laboratory, there is limited follow-up action we can take. To find out the source of the food poisoning we need to have the type of food poisoning confirmed. 

Any suspect food you might have won't be tested at a laboratory until a positive result is obtained from the faecal sample.

Things to consider

Your illness may not be due to your last meal. The symptoms of food poisoning usually start between 1 and 2 days after eating contaminated food. This means you may have eaten the food which caused your illness a number of days before your symptoms started.

The main symptoms include:

  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea

Remember, there are other viral infections which have similar symptoms to food poisoning and at times food prepared in the home is responsible.

Health advice

You should also:

  • not handle or prepare food as part of your job under any circumstances
  • not return to work until 48 hours after the symptoms have ceased
  • not work if you work with children or the elderly
  • drink plenty of fluids and rest until you are better
  • avoid preparing food for other people

To find out more visit the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website for advice on fitness to work and NHS Choices for information on food poisoning.