Food poisoning

Learn how germs spread in the kitchen and how to help protect your family from food born illness with simple cleaning and disinfecting tips..

Food Safety Information

Food Safety InformationYou can help stop germs spreading around your kitchen by following some basic cleanliness steps. These steps will not only reduce germs on surfaces; they will also help protect you and your family from food-borne illnesses, and help prevent the growth of mould and mildew too.

About Food-borne germs

Food-borne illness or ‘food poisoning’ is caused by consuming germs in contaminated food or water. Germs that cause food poisoning can easily spread from foods, such as raw meat and poultry, to hands or kitchen work surfaces, and in turn can spread to other foods.

Depending on the type of germ involved, the symptoms may begin from one to 36 hours after eating contaminated food, and may range from a mild stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhoea to severe illness. For those with weak immune systems, illness can be more severe.

Common Food-Borne germs

  • Salmonella: Causes salmonellosis which results in watery diarrhoea and abdominal pain, and sometimes vomiting and a fever. Food derived from animals and poultry, is the main source.
  • E. coli O157: Cattle are the main carriers of E.coli 0157. People often become infected through consuming beef, hamburgers, and unpasteurised milk. It causes severe diarrhoea and abdominal pain, and can sometimes be fatal, particularly for babies, young children and the elderly.
  • Campylobacter: This is the most common cause of food poisoning in England. Its primary sources include raw or undercooked meat (especially poultry), unpasteurised milk and untreated water. Symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain and a fever.