Food safety and food poisoning

Causes and symptoms of food poisoning

There are around a million cases of food poisoning every year in the UK. Food can be contaminated at any stage during its production, processing or cooking. Food poisoning is rarely serious and can usually be treated at home.

For more information on the common causes and symptoms of food poisoning, as well as how to treat it, see:

How to prepare and cook food safely at home

Advice on how to store, prepare and cook food safely to help minimise the risk of food poisoning can be found on the NHS website:

Investigating causes of food poisoning and food-borne illness

In some cases your GP is legally required to notify both us and the Health Authority if you visit them with a case of food related infectious disease. In the interests of public health we investigate cases of food related infectious disease to:

  • find the cause, is possible
  • minimise the risk of others being infected
  • see if individual cases are linked to a larger outbreak
  • investigate commercial food producers that may be linked to cases or outbreaks

For more information please contact the Public Health & Regulation Team.

Food allergies and intolerances

A food allergy is when the body's immune system reacts unusually to specific foods. Although allergic reactions are often mild, they can be very serious.

A food intolerance is not the same thing as a food allergy.

To see how they differ and what causes food allergies please see:

Report a problem with food

If you want to make a complaint about a food product which you have purchased, or a premises where you have bought food or eaten you can report it to us:

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Page last updated: 31 January 2022

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