Food Poisoning Claims | ™
Or call free on:
0800 234 6438
We take your data seriously. See our privacy policy & terms.
By submitting this form you agree to be contacted by our partners.

Food Poisoning Claims

If you’ve suffered food poisoning as a result of someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to make a no win no fee food poisoning claim.

Food poisoning compensation claim

It’s tempting to dismiss the idea of food poisoning as being something fairly trivial, which might only cause some stomach ache and nausea for a couple of days. Indeed, most cases do pass after a few days and without treatment, but taking the issue lightly would be a mistake.

Depending upon the type of food poisoning concerned and the general health of the person suffering, it can go on to cause symptoms as serious as dehydration, fever, damage to the nervous system, paralysis or even death. Whilst such serious cases may, thankfully, be fairly rare, they still serve to underline the bond of trust which has been broken if a retailer serves goods which go on to cause food poisoning.

If you’ve suffered food poisoning, you could be eligible to claim compensation. To find out more, call 0800 234 6438 today and speak with a trained legal advisor. They’ll be able to guide you better and explain the claims process. If they feel you have a claim to make, they’ll partner you with specialist personal injury solicitors who will take on your case on a no win no fee basis.

Food poisoning from restaurants, cafés, bars, etc.

When you go to a restaurant, café, bar, hotel or any other kind of establishment which serves food you accept that you might not always end up eating something which is of Michelin Star status. What you do expect, however, is that the food, however unimpressive it might be, will at least be safe to eat.

If this isn’t the case, and the food or drink you consume results in you developing food poisoning, then you may well have the right to claim compensation.

The legislation which covers this area is the Consumer Protection Act 1987. The law states that any food retailer has to provide food which is free from harmful bacteria, and that if it can be proved that they failed to do so then they face a ‘strict liability’. What this means is that the retailer will be judged, in law, to be liable (i.e. to blame) for your food poisoning even if it can’t be demonstrated that they did anything demonstrably wrong in the preparation of the food.

The mere presence of harmful bacteria, no matter how it came to be there, will usually be enough to make a successful case for negligence and thus compensation. In most cases, the bacteria will in fact be present because the food has not been stored, prepared or cooked properly. The people against whom such a claim can be made include food outlets, the producers of the food, or an importer of any food from outside the UK or EU.

DID YOU KNOW: Research carried out by the Food Standards Agency estimated there were at least 2.4m cases of food poisoning in the UK in 2019.

How is food poisoning caused?

Whilst you may never find out exactly why a particular item of contaminated food went on to cause food poisoning, there are certain practices which are closely linked to the problem. In order to protect yourself as much as possible when eating suspect food prepared by a third party, look out for the following:

  • Food, particularly meat, which is still raw in parts
  • Food which should be chilled but has not been kept below 5C
  • Food which has been cooked and kept warm for too long
  • Food which has previously been cooked and hasn’t been sufficiently reheated
  • Food which has been handled by someone with dirty hands
  • Food past its ‘use by’ date
  • Different types of food stored too closely together, such as raw meat and vegetables

Foods which are more likely to cause food poisoning if they are not stored, handled or cooked properly include:

  • Raw meat
  • Raw poultry
  • Raw shellfish
  • Unpasteurised milk
  • Foods which are ‘ready to eat’ such as sliced meats, soft cheeses and pates

Food poisoning symptoms

The symptoms of food poisoning usually begin to take effect one or two days after the food has been eaten, although it may be as quickly as a few hours or as long as several weeks, depending upon the precise nature of the bacteria in question.

The most common symptoms to present in a case of food poisoning are the following:

  • Feeling nauseous
  • Actually being sick, with the vomit sometimes containing blood
  • Painful stomach cramps
  • Diarrhoea, again sometimes containing blood
  • Headache or fever, chills and general aches and pains

Different types of food poisoning, some more serious than others, include norovirus, listeria, Campylobacter, E. coli, Salmonella and botulism.

How long after eating something does it take before you became ill with food poisoning?

The onset of food poisoning symptoms can occur anywhere from a few hours to several days after eating food that’s contaminated, depending on the cause and the severity of the illness. On average, symptoms usually develop within 6-48 hours.

The timing of symptoms can vary based on several factors such as the type of bacteria or virus causing the food poisoning, the amount consumed, and the person’s individual tolerance and immune system. Some foodborne illnesses like Salmonella can take 12 to 72 hours to incubate, while others like norovirus can cause symptoms within just a few hours.

It’s also important to note that not everyone who ingests contaminated food will develop symptoms, and some may only experience mild symptoms while others may have severe and life-threatening illnesses.

Food poisoning claims

Any claim for compensation following a case of food poisoning will be made on the basis of the pain and suffering caused by the food poisoning, and any money lost through immediate expenses such as medical fees, and the loss of earnings if you need to take time off work.

A successful food poisoning claim will consist of demonstrating that you were in fact suffering from food poisoning, and that this was caused by the food or drink supplied or prepared by a specific retailer or food outlet.

Proving that you have been suffering food poisoning will involve seeking independent medical advice, and the sooner you do so after developing symptoms, the better. Not only will this prevent your condition worsening, but it will start to build the body of evidence required to make a successful claim.

Claiming food poisoning compensation

In some cases, multiple people are affected by food poisoning, as was the case in 2012, when the ocean liner Dawn Princess was hit by the norovirus, leaving 114 passengers and 11 crew members stricken with food poisoning. In a case such as this, establishing blame will be relatively simple, but if you’re alone in being affected then it’s vital to gather as much evidence as possible.

As soon as you realise you’re suffering from food poisoning, contact your local Environmental Health Department, the arm of a local authority responsible for policing food safety and hygiene issues. The contact details for your local officer can be found at

Other pieces of evidence which might prove invaluable when seeking food poisoning compensation payout include:

  • The accounts of any witnesses or fellow diners
  • Any remains of the food you’ve been able to keep (frozen in order to preserve it)
  • A food diary of the preceding 24 hours to enable you to eliminate other possible causes
  • Receipts from the retailer in question
  • Receipts detailing expenses which have arisen as a result of the food poisoning

The evidence you provide, allied to any gathered under the statutory powers of an Environmental Health Officer, will be used to when claiming compensation of which, under the latest legislation you will be allowed to keep a minimum of 75%, having had to pay nothing up front.

Suffering from food poisoning when abroad

Cases of severe food poisoning which occur when you’re abroad can form the basis of a compensation claim, but such cases are often more complex. Things are simpler if your holiday was a package deal booked through a tour operator. If this is the case, then your compensation claim will be made against the relevant operator, and evidence you should keep will include:

  • Photographs or video footage of the hygiene standards in the hotel.
  • A food diary of the days leading up to the illness, detailing when, where and what you’ve had to eat and drink.
  • Take down contact details of any other tourists who have been affected.
  • Inform the hotel and the tour operator of your food poisoning, and insist upon the provision of written confirmation.

If your holiday wasn’t booked through a tour operator then the situation may be more complicated. In particular, many tourists book via a travel agent, assuming this constitutes a package tour, only to discover that the different elements of their holiday – travel, accommodation etc. – were actually booked as separate features.

It may still be possible to pursue a food poisoning claim against an individual hotel or restaurant, but legal advice is imperative since the law around environmental health and the time limits for making such a claim tend to differ from country to country.

DID YOU KNOW: Many ‘package deals’ are actually comprised of separate elements booked by the travel agent.

If you feel you’ve been affected by food poisoning whilst abroad, gather as much evidence as possible and present it to an expert injury solicitor, together with the contractual details of your holiday deal. Working on your food poisoning case on a no win no fee basis, they will offer expert advice as to whether there is a viable claim to pursue.

Find out more about claiming holiday accident compensation.

How much compensation for food poisoning?

Compensation for food poisoning typically covers the costs associated with the illness, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, including the severity of your illness, the cause of the food contamination, and the impact on your daily life.

The average settlement for food poisoning in the UK can range from a few thousand pounds to tens of thousands, depending on the severity of the illness and the amount of compensation being claimed. In severe cases, such as those involving long-term health complications, compensation may be higher.

It is important to consult a personal injury lawyer if you are considering pursuing compensation for food poisoning, as they can help you understand your legal rights and options and guide you through the process.

They’ll also ensure you receive all the damages you’re owed, including special and general damages.

Special damages

Special damages refer to specific, quantifiable losses that can be easily calculated, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the food poisoning. These damages are meant to cover the actual financial losses and costs related to the incident.

General damages

General damages, on the other hand, refer to compensation for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are more subjective in nature and do not have a clear value.

Both special and general damages may be included in a food poisoning compensation claim, and the amount awarded will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, including the severity of the illness, the impact on your daily life, and other relevant factors.

Make a no win no fee food poisoning personal injury claim

To find out more about claiming compensation for food poisoning, or to learn about the claims process, call 0800 234 6438 today for free and speak with a trained legal advisor. They’ll provide you with free, impartial advice about claiming compensation for food poisoning, and they’ll never pressure you into making a claim. You have nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

When you submit your details, you'll be in safe hands. Our partners are National Accident Helpline (a brand of National Accident Law, a firm of personal injury solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority). They are the UK's leading personal injury service. Their friendly legal services advisers will call you to talk about your claim and give you free, no-obligation advice. National Accident Law may pay us a marketing fee for our services.

By submitting your personal data, you agree for your details to be sent to National Accident Law so they can contact you to discuss your claim.

If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.