Food scares and the risk of poisoning are never out of the headlines for long. Over the years there have been a number of major warnings of outbreaks relating to contamination affecting poultry and cattle, and newspapers constantly report on supermarkets having to clear shelves of certain products because of a possible health risk.
In August, one of the major supermarket brands had to recall its own-brand Prawn Masala and Pilau Rice with an incorrect 'use by' date of 22 September, which should have been the 22 August. Just this week, the Food Standards Agency has asked all local authority enforcement officers to ensure that all packets of lambs’ brains from a major EU lamb product supplier are withdrawn from sale and destroyed because they were not inspected before being distributed.
Yet, away from the big headlines, the reality is that injury compensation is being paid out every day to a staggering five and half million people who contract food poisoning, which can often take weeks or months for a full recovery to be made. Victims most often suffer from repeated and prolonged bouts of vomiting or diarrhoea accompanied by raised temperature, muscle aches and stomach cramps, which lead to weakness, fatigue or complete exhaustion.
Yet many people are not aware that food poisoning is categorised as a personal injury and therefore, may be entitled to receive an injury claims payment of a five figure sum. Eating food with bacterium contamination is often the main reason for contracting food poisoning. The most well-know categories include Salmonella, E.Coli Listeria and Campylobacter.
While the most common reasons for food poisoning are undercooked meats and the preparation or placing of raw and cooked foods together, other frequent causes are soured dairy products, incorrect preserving and canning (Botulism) and a general lack of hygiene, cleanliness, etc
A bout of food poisoning or a related illness while on holiday abroad is an all too frequent occurrence with popular destinations across the Mediterranean and North Africa, such as Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt appearing on compensation claims forms over the last two to three years.
Questionable standards of food and hygiene at a holiday hotel could also be viewed as negligence on the part of the tour operator who can be held responsible for any illness or injury caused if they fail in their duty of care to their customers.