Food poisoning compensation claims

The following article looks at what you should know about making a food poisoning compensation claim.

How much can I claim?

Research published by the Food Standards Agency suggests that more than 500,000 British people seek treatment for food poisoning each year. Since the majority of people do not visit their GP for these illnesses, it is likely that patient numbers represent only a fraction of total food poisoning cases.

Most cases of food poisoning clear up within a few days and, because people consume food from a variety of providers, cases can be difficult to prove.

Acting promptly to contact a specialist solicitor to discuss your options can make it easier to gather suitable evidence, and can improve your chances of making a successful personal injury claim.

Rotavirus petri dish

What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning is caused by harmful bacteria, viruses or parasites on food entering the stomach and intestine. These pathogens can poison the body by damaging the lining of the intestines or by producing harmful toxins.

Symptoms range from minor to very serious and include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Blood in the stools
  • Fever

Symptoms can appear half an hour after eating contaminated food or can present over several days as the bacteria multiplies to dangerously high levels. In a similar vein, some people will fall ill for just a few hours whereas others may be ill for weeks. In very severe and recurring cases, food poisoning can cause nervous system damage and other permanent health issues.

Irritable bowel syndrome can also develop as a result of a severe bout of food poisoning, leading to life-altering, long term consequences.

Which bacteria cause food poisoning?

The overwhelming majority of reported food poisoning cases are attributable to the following organisms.


Campylobacter is the most common food-borne bacteria, accounting for 280,000 cases of food poisoning each year. Four out of five cases are caused by contaminated poultry. The bacteria may also be present on meat, unpasteurised milk and untreated water.


Salmonella is responsible for the most hospital admissions - around 2,500 each year. The bug is most commonly found in meat, poultry, eggs, unpasteurised milk and seafood. Incidences of salmonella poisoning have declined consistently in the UK. However, it remains a primary cause of holiday food poisoning claims affecting tourists travelling to locations where food hygiene standards are lower than in the UK.

E. Coli

E. coli poisoning is caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Hand washing before preparing food is essential to prevent contamination.


The cryptosporidium microorganism lives in water. Large outbreaks of cryptosporidium poisoning typically occur when drinking water becomes contaminated due to inadequate filtration to remove the parasite.


Norovirus and rotavirus are highly contagious viruses passed by poor hand hygiene or eating contaminated food. They are responsible for an estimated 74,000 cases of food poisoning each year, notably occurring in closed environments, leading to illness aboard a cruise ship for example, or in a hospital or nursing homes.

Contact with contaminated surfaces can lead to outbreaks of epidemic proportions in such environments.

Do I have a food poisoning claim?

Do I have a claim?

Food-borne bacteria can be killed if food is stored, handled and cooked correctly. The majority of food poisoning cases occur when hygiene standards are not observed in restaurants, hotels, cruise ships and hospitals.

Where it can be shown that the food poisoning is the result of another person's negligence, it may be possible to make a compensation claim. Claims can be brought for food poisoning contracted in the UK or on a foreign package holiday.

Guaranteed No Win No Fee - Pay nothing if you lose

A no win no fee agreement (also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) is agreed between a claimant and a personal injury solicitor.

A Conditional Fee Agreement is in essence the terms under which the solicitor acts for their client.

It sets out what the solicitors will do as well as how the solicitor is remunerated if the legal case is won.

If you use our solicitors for your food poisoning compensation claim there will be no hidden or extra costs , nothing to pay up-front and the reassurance that you will never be out of pocket.

How much compensation can I claim for food poisoning?

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our food poisoning compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

How much can I claim?

Meet our team

Quittance's nationwide network of solicitors help injured people with all types of personal injury claims and have a wealth of expertise with fast track, complex and catastrophic injury claims. Our solicitors are selected on the basis of their professionalism and their track record in winning claims.

Click here to see more of the Quittance team.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Jonathan Speight, Senior litigator

About the author

Jonathan has over 30 years' experience in the personal injury sector and has been awarded the rank of Senior Litigator by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

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