Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is an illness which occurs after eating or drinking anything that is contaminated by bacteria, or sometimes chemicals.


These depend on the type of bacteria or chemical but diarrhoea, sickness, stomach pains and sometimes fever and headache are the most common. Illness may last for only a day or continue for one or two weeks.

If you think you have food poisoning drink plenty of fluids and consult your doctor. If you think you may have got it from eating out in Mole Valley please see our Food Complaints web page.

Investigating food poisoning and reports of infectious disease

  • MVDC will respond to all reports of infectious disease or food poisoning as soon as possible and provide helpful professional advice and information regarding your illness and any necessary preventative measures.
  • please remember that symptoms of food poisoning will not usually occur until at least 24 hours or longer after eating contaminated food.


Raw food, especially meats and poultry contain bacteria which can cause food poisoning. Stop these bacteria from getting onto food by taking the following precautions:

  • store raw and cooked food apart
  • keep raw meat on the bottom shelf of the fridge to stop juices from dripping onto other foods
  • use separate utensils and chopping boards for raw and cooked foods
  • wash your hands with soap in warm running water after handling raw foods
  • do not smoke or eat when handling raw food
  • make sure you thaw frozen poultry and joints of meat completely before cooking
  • cook food thoroughly – poultry should always be cooked until the juices run clear
  • to store food for another time, cool it quickly and put it in the fridge as soon as possible or keep it hot in the oven. If food is stored at the right temperature, bacteria cannot grow.
  • keep pets and pet food away from food, work surfaces and utensils
  • wash your hands after using the toilet, before and after preparing food, after handling pets and after emptying the waste bin
  • keep food covered

If you are ill

If your work involves handling food, nursing or working with the young, sick or elderly, you must tell your employer. In these cases, you should not return to work until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Also take the following actions:

  • avoid close contact with other people until the symptoms have stopped
  • avoid preparing food for other people
  • make sure everyone at home has their own towel and flannel
  • clean toilet seats, flush handles, door handles and taps frequently with hot soapy water and disinfectant solution
  • soiled clothes and bedding should be washed on their own in the washing machine on the hottest cycle