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Your guide to hotel food poisoning

Man seasoning raw meat

A holiday abroad often means a well-deserved break from cooking and preparing meals. You may also be looking forward to sampling some of the amazing food available on your hotel restaurant menu, resort buffet or poolside bar.

Most holidaymakers abroad enjoy a happy time with no real problems over the food they eat and are generally mindful that the hotel / resort catering might cause a slight tummy upset. The last thing you expect is a bout of serious food poisoning.

The body reaction to food poisoning is rapid and intense. In many cases, it could mean you will spend most of your precious holiday time seriously ill or even in hospital.

Holiday illnesses are often caused by one or more of three following causes:

  • Eating contaminated food
  • Eating undercooked food
  • Drinking contaminated water

Many travellers abroad are often aware of the risks of drinking from the local water supply and will also try to ensure that the food they eat has been thoroughly cooked. But these basic precautions may not be enough to prevent catching a serious illness caused by negligent food preparation or hygiene practices at your hotel.

Your UK Package tour operator can be found liable for a breach in regulations, which directly caused your illness and it is always recommended to seek appropriate legal advice to ensure your case is heard.

Your Legal Friend has 30 years experience and specialist knowledge in all aspects of international personal injury law. We provide you with all the expert guidance you will need to help you help you succeed in making your claim for food poisoning against a UK tour operator / cruise line.

Stats & Facts

Food-borne illness around the world:

  • 582 million cases of 22 different food-borne diseases
  • 351,000 associated deaths
  • 52,000 deaths caused by the Salmonella bacteria
  • 37,000 deaths caused by the  E. coli bacteria
  • 35,000 deaths caused by norovirus           (Latest available data - Food-borne illness around the world 2010 -  World Health Organization (WHO), 2015)

How illness spreads

An outbreak of food poisoning can spread instantly between holiday makers staying at the same resort or on board a cruise ship.

An infection can be passed on through:

  • Hand to mouth contact from people carrying a bug
  • From touching infected surfaces - such as door handles, railings, toilet flush handles.
  • Poor hygiene practices and systems

Common types of bacterial infection

Outbreaks of food poisoning are usually caused by the more common types of bacterial infection, such as:

Campylobacter 

  • Causes severe diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and fever.
  • Found on raw or undercooked meat (particularly poultry), unpasteurised milk and untreated water. The illness can also be passed on by animal, pets and birds.
  • Symptoms usually appear after two to five days from eating contaminated food and usually lasts up to a week.

E. coli

  • Causes severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Found in the digestive systems of many animals, including humans.
  • Most cases of E. coli food poisoning occur after eating undercooked beef (particularly mince, burgers and meatballs) or drinking unpasteurised milk.
  • Symptoms usually appears between one to eight days from eating contaminated food and usually lasts for a few days or weeks.

Salmonella

  • Causes severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Found in raw or undercooked meat, raw eggs, milk, and other dairy products.
  • Symptoms usually appears between 12 and 72 hours from eating contaminated food and usually lasts around four to seven days.

Shigella

  • Causes severe diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, fever and often blood or mucus in the stool.
  • Found in any food that has been washed in contaminated water. Infected people who handle food can transmit the bacteria to people who eat the food.
  • Symptoms usually appear within three days from eating contaminated food and lasts for up to a week.

Dysentery

  • Causes severe diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and high fever.
  • Found in faeces passed on by someone with the infection who neglects to wash their hands after using the WC and then touches food, surfaces, or another person.
  • In countries with poor sanitation, infected faeces may contaminate the water supply or food (particularly cold, uncooked food).
  • Symptoms usually appear between one to three days and usually lasts up to a week.

What do I do if I get food poisoning?

As with any accident or injury abroad, it is essential that you report what has happened.

  • Firstly,  alert the hotel manager and ask for the hotel accident book to record your illness.
  • Secondly, speak to your holiday rep or contact their offices to also let them know.

You must also make a note of the key details by:

Taking photos – and record the date and time the photographs were taken.

Taking a sample - try to also get a sample taken at the local hospital or as soon as you return to the UK, which can identify the exact bacteria that caused your illness. It is important you try to get this done as quickly as possible as bacteria may only survive for a few days.

Taking details of any witnesses - keep a note of  names, addresses and email addresses so you can contact them should you need their help.

Keeping a diary of your symptoms – to ensure that nothing is forgotten or not correctly remembered when recalling events with a medical expert / solicitor.

Making a claim – what you need to know

Your UK Package tour operator can be found liable for a breach in regulations, which directly caused your illness and it is always recommended to seek appropriate legal advice to ensure your case will be heard.

Under the Package Travel Regulations 1992,  your UK Package tour operator:

  • Has a responsibility for ensuring that your holiday is provided to a reasonable standard.
  • Is liable to pay compensation if you or a member of your family were ill and suffered food poisoning because the  hotel resort where you were staying failed to take reasonable care.
  • Is responsible for making sure its suppliers perform their obligations properly.
  • If you are on a package holiday, and your tour operator/hotel is found to be in breach of the regulations you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Building your case and making a claim requires the in-depth knowledge of a specialist solicitor.

Your Legal Friend has 30 years experience and knowledge in all aspects of international personal injury law.

We specialise in helping all those who have suffered from a holiday accident, injury or illness while on holiday abroad through no fault of their own and wish to claim compensation against a UK tour operator / cruise line.

  • We can help you to claim back any additional expenses you have suffered as a result of your accident, such as:
  • Any medical expenses you had to meet whilst on holiday
  • Time taken off work on your return from holiday
  • Missing out on any holiday activities, which your injury prevents you from participating in.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way.

  • Specialist team of occupational illness solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • No upfront fees or payments
  • Over 30 years of experience in personal injury compensation

Talk to us today

For an informal, confidential chat with one of our specialist medical negligence solicitors... Call us now on 0808 301 7535 (calls free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.