Category Archives: Food poisoning

Food poisoning bags for life

Bag for Life Food Poisoning Alert

The Food Standards Agency (FSA)  has warned that bags for life carry a risk of food poisoning. If raw foods such as fish or meat are carried in a bag for life, even if there’s no obvious leak or spillage, can still cause problems as traces of contamination can be carried on the outer packaging.

Deadly food poisoning bacteria such as campylobacter and E coli can easily cross-contaminate from raw foods, eggs, vegetables with soil on, and even the packaging of raw foods.

The Food Standards agency now recommends using separate bags for raw meat, ready to eat food and non-food items. To avoid confusion the bags should be  labelled, or colour coded and they should always be used for the particular type you assigned to them. So a raw food bag should always and only be used for raw food. All bags should be regularly cleaned as well. You should wash your hands when you get home and after unpacking your bags. Cotton bags are a good idea as these can be machine washed.

The FSA also recommends using insulated bags on warm days, or if leaving your shopping in the car for any length of time.

This article is a summary of the FSA’s advice and is intended as an introduction to the subject, if you wish to take any action to minimise the risk of food poisoning from reusable bags you should not rely on this article but read the FSA’s advice on their webpage; Read the Food Standards Agency advice here

Top Tips to Avoid Valentine’s Day Food Poisoning

How To Have a Safe and Healthy Valentine’s Day Meal Out

Recent statistics from the US suggest that up to 65% of all food poisoning outbreaks can be traced back ultimately to food which has been prepared in a restaurant.

So this Valentine’s Night when having that special meal you may wish to take some basic precautions to avoid unnecessary food poisoning difficulties.

First tip is to check out the hygiene and safety certificates which (if there has been an inspection) will be normally proudly on display. Whilst not critical these are a good indicator that the restaurant owner takes food hygiene seriously and has it as a high priority.

Secondly- and linked to this- is to check that the glasses and cutlery (as well as the tablecloth) are clean and presentable. Again, even the best eating places can have lapses but these first impressions are critical.

Thirdly– and this is for those who have to check out dietary requirements strictly – such as those diagnosed as coeliac- do have a look at the mandatory list of allergens which should help you choose from the menu. Any restaurant which has not taken their responsibilities seriously in this regard should be treated with extreme caution.

(As a Firm of Solicitors who specialise in food poisoning claims – and Coeliac Claims in particular- we are constantly surprised (and disappointed) at how many restaurant owners see gluten intolerance as a fad and not a serious medical condition which requires careful dietary monitoring).

Fourthly, check the food is thoroughly cooked. There are of course recipes that are based on undercooking for flavour- such as steak etc- but any dish where this is not specified and is undercooked should be treated with suspicion

Fifthly, if you are taking home food in a doggy back make sure that you get it to the fridge within a couple of hours maximum. If you are unable to get it home and refrigerated in that time please leave the food at the restaurant.

Finally, if despite the precautions you may have taken above you may have suffered food poisoning and wish to bring a claim please do not hesitate to contact us on 01535958778 or 07821809843 for free no obligation confidential advice from a specialist firm of Food Poisoning Solicitors

Top Tips to Avoid Valentine’s Day Food Poisoning- The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

Slough Council have taken the rather unconventional step of warning potential Valentine’s Day romantic diners that they should be careful about which restaurant they choose to have their intimate meal.

They are using the opportunity to remind would be diners that they can check the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme to try and assess how clean a restaurant is and whether they can be as certain as possible that the potential problems are minimised.

Most restaurants in the Slough area have a rating of around three stars- with a very small number having the exceptional five stars

What the other lower stars can indicate was graphically illustrated by a Council report on a Pizza shop on the High St in Slough being closed down for having an infestation of mice. The pizzeria is closed until the Health and Safety Officers are sure that they have resolved the issues.

The Council say that they are not trying to put people off going out on Valentine’s Night but simply to use the Food Hygiene Rating System to inform their choice.

If you have had a problem with a takeaway or restaurant and need to discuss your legal options with specialist Food Poisoning Solicitors  please ring for free no obligation confidential advice on 01535958778 or 07821809843.

And do enjoy your Valentine’s Day Meal too!

 

Can Badly Cooked Rice Cause Food Poisoning?

Recent expert advice indicates that badly cooked rice can cause food poisoning – the tests found traces of arsenic – a substance lethal to humans potentially causing heart disease diabetes and cancer

The problem seems to emanate from the way the rice is grown- using pesticides and other chemicals which can be released in harmful doses on cooking- although a small amount of arsenic occurs naturally in rice anyway.

The safest way to cook the rice seems to be by adding a lot more water than most of us do currently. It appears that if you add five times the ratio of water to the rice and then wash off the excess water about half of the arsenic levels result

And an even safer way to prepare the rice is to leave the rice soaking overnight in cold water- which results in 80% of the toxins being removed.

Apart from domestic cooking this advice is something that restaurant owners need to take on board to ensure that the product offered to diners is as safe as possible

 

Christmas food poisoning

Top 5 tips on How to Avoid Food Poisoning at Home this Christmas

Christmas food poisoningChristmas is a time when the family gathers and our Christmas meals are an important part of the fun. But we need to keep in mind that some people, including young kids, pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to food poisoning. This time of year you’ll likely be preparing food for a mix of people, and some round the table may fall in these groups meaning extra care is needed at this special time.

So here’s our top five tips to guard against food poisoning at home

1.     Always, always wash your hands

Most people know to wash their hands after handling raw meat and poultry but very few do so before they start to handle any food and after cracking raw eggs or handling raw sea food. In fact you should wash your hands every time before you start to cook and every time after you handle any raw foods.

2.     Don’t leave food out

Cooked food should be eaten or put in the fridge. You don’t have to wait for it to cool down (unless you’re putting a LOT in the fridge). If you want to leave it out then try not to leave it for more than an hour and definitely not more than 2 hours. 5 to 60 degrees Celsius (40-140 Fahrenheit) is the ideal temperature for a whole range of bugs to thrive. Room temperature falls right in the middle of that range. And guess what’s below and above that range, yes, the fridge and the oven. So food, especially cooked food, should be in the oven, your tummy or the fridge.

3.      Reheat leftovers properly

We all know not to reheat cooked rice. Well that’s not quite how it is. It’s not that the rice has already been cooked. It’s that cooked rice is often left out for a few hours, even overnight, and then reheated. The spores from the bacteria in rice aren’t killed by cooking and if left at room temperature have time to grow into bacteria and multiply to dangerous levels. So leftover rice has to go in the fridge within two hours, and be reheated to steaming hot throughout to kill any new bacterial growth. The same applies to all leftovers, if they’ve been out for more than two hours the bin is the best place for them, and if they went in the fridge in time then reheat thoroughly and as quickly as possible (the longer the food is at 40-140 Fahrenheit the more nasties will grow.

And a fridge only slows down the bacteria so experts advise not to keep any leftovers in the fridge for more than 3 to 4 days.

4.     Raw poultry – handle with care!

More than half a million food poisoning cases are caused each year by Campylobacter, a bug that simply loves raw chicken and other poultry. So wash your hands after you handle raw poultry, don’t contaminate any surfaces (use a colour coded mat and wash the mat afterwards) and cook any poultry thoroughly.

And just because it’s Christmas we’ve thrown in another two for free!

5.     Don’t mess with minced meat

When meat is minced the blades pick up bacteria from the surface, where the heat of the oven will kill it, and push it deep into the body of the meat, where the full heat from cooking is much less likely to reach and kill it. It’s best to avoid minced meat unless you know it’s been thoroughly cooked right through. You do not want to be eating a burger that’s pink in the middle.

6.     Always wash fruit and veg

We tend to think of meat and seafood as the main causes of food poisoning but actually a prestigious survey in America in 2014 found that produce caused 46% of all foodborne illness outbreaks, with leafy green vegetables being the most common culprit. Unwashed fruit and veg can have bacteria on the surface but also can have been handled by someone in the food chain who didn’t wash their hands after handling raw chicken or have been put on a surface used for raw fish or meat. It’s not just a question of washing fruit such as apples – any fruit with a skin, such as melon or cucumber will have bacteria on, so when cutting it with a with knife the bacteria can be pushed down into the flesh of the fruit.

7.     Don’t wash raw chicken!

Yes, that’s not a mistake, don’t wash raw chicken. It doesn’t get rid of the bacteria and risks splashing it around the kitchen, landing on chopping boards, hands and raw fruit, where it can do far more harm than on the chicken where proper cooking will kill it all.

Couple sue Royal Caribbean over food poisoning on dream cruise

A couple have sued the cruise company Royal Caribbean after they became ill whilst on a £2,000 cruise of the Mediterranean.

Food poisoning, which they contracted on board the luxury cruise ship Rhapsody of the Sea, caused Rachael and David Wilcox of Bristol to feel sick, lethargic and to have ‘explosive diarrhoea’. David was so poorly he was in effective quarantine for two days as he kept to his bed in his cabin. The ships medical crew gave him injections and medication and he was put on a special menu called ‘a bland diet can settle troublesome vomiting and diarrhoea’.

Rachael, who has been on 12 cruises before, alleged that the ship was ‘dirty with grease and grime’.  Rachael went on to say ‘ I’ve been on 12 different cruises and usually there are cleaners all over the ship but I just didn’t seem to see many this time around,’ she claimed.

Oneill Injury Solicitors are specialists in food poisoning cases, having a special interest due to a family member having experience of Coeliac Disease. If you or a loved one has suffered food poisoning please contact us. We will give you a free initial assessment and advise you if you have a case to claim for compensation for any suffering, distress or loss caused by an incident of food poisoning.

Contact us now for your free food poisoning claim assessment. Phone 01535 958778, email us or use the form on the right of our web pages.

Food Poisoning linked to Crohn’s

Food poisoning is far too common and can be a very unpleasant experience; sometimes leading to serious medical consequences, but new research has indicated that it can have far longer and more serious effects than previously thought.

Researchers at MacMaster University in Hamilton, USA have established a link between food poisoning and Crohn’s in their experiments on mice.

Gastro enteritis is the cause of link to Crohn’s

Food poisoning claim

The cause of this problem is acute infectious gastroenteritis, a common type of food poisoning. It has emerged that after a serious infection of gastroenteritis there are increased levels of adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC) in the gut. AIEC is a bacteria implicated in Crohn’s. People suffering Crohn’s have high levels of this bacteria in the gut.

High levels of AIEC bacteria remain after food poisoning is cured

It was found that high levels of AIEC bacteria can remain even after the original gastroenteritis has been cured. This led to symptoms of Crohn’s in mice such as worsened bowel inflammation.

What is Crohn’s disease?

The cause of Crohn’s disease is not known and there is no cure for it. Crohn’s disease is a debilitating and chronic condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Whilst the cause is still not known some sufferers report a link to their diet.

What is known is that the actual mechanism of the disease is complex and involves both the fungus Candida and two types of bacteria working together to form a layer in the intestines that causes the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

For further information on Crohn’s disease please see this link http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Crohns-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx

 

Oneill Injury Solicitors are specialists in food poisoning cases, having a special interest due to a family member having experience of Coeliac Disease. If you or a loved one has suffered food poisoning please contact us. We will give you a free initial assessment and advise you if you have a case to claim for compensation for any suffering, distress or loss caused by an incident of food poisoning.

Contact us now for your free food poisoning claim assessment. Phone 01535 958778, email us or use the form on the right of our web pages.

 

Food Poisoning on Dream Holiday Couple to Claim Compensation.

A couple who went on what they described as a dream holiday to Mexico suffered food poisoning and are bringing a claim for compensation.

The couple went on a Thomas Cook Holiday to Mexico in May to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

They claim they were served raw chicken from the hotel buffet and Mr Burke then alleges that he immediately fell ill with vomiting and diarrhoea. He then had an intensive period of stomach pains and flu like symptoms

He says as a result he lost nearly half a stone in weight.

Further details can be found at this address: .htmlhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3678654/Couple-say-2-500-anniversary-Thomas-Cook-holiday-ruined-food-poisoning-served-RAW-chicken.html

Comment on This Case: This case demonstrates that poorly cooked food can have a devastating effect on health and in this case if the holiday was ruined the couple can claim for the cost of the holiday as well as the compensation for the personal injury to the digestive system Mr Burke sustained.

If you have any queries about bringing a claim for food poisoning please ring for confidential no obligation advice on 01535958778 or 07821809843 (out of hours)

Curry House Death Shows Dangers of Allergies in Restaurants and Takeaways

A Curry House owner has been convicted of manslaughter and jailed after he failed to take notice of the allergy warnings given to him by a customer who subsequently died due to the from the food provided.

The restaurant owner Mr Mohammed Zaman was described as reckless  and having a cavalier attitude to risk by the judge.

Mr Paul Wilson suffered from severe anaphylactic shock in January 2014 after he ate a takeaway which contained nuts from Mr Zaman’s restaurant ‘The Indian Garden’ in Easingwold North Yorkshire.

Mr Wilson specified no peanuts on his order and this was written on his order. Despite this the meal was made using a nut powder which contained peanuts and led to Mr Wilson’s death.

What makes this case even worse is that three weeks before Mr Wilson made his order another customer had suffered a similar reaction to the curry. Mr Zaman was aware of this but failed to act

Mr Zaman was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence and also was guilty of six food safety offences.

The Judge described the incident as totally avoidable

A further more detailed report can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-36360111

Comment on this Case:

This case shows the importance of risk management by restaurant and takeaway owners when people say they have a food allergy. This is a tragic case but many restaurant owners and waiters still unfortunately not take seriously warnings from customers about food allergy problems (such as gluten free)  seeing them as ‘faddy’ or ‘fussy’. This case will make it clear that this approach can have disastrous consequences and it is important staff are trained to recognise and act on risks like this.

If you have had an experience at a restaurant where your allergy has been ignored and you have suffered the consequences you should not hesitate to contact us on 01535958778 or 07821809843. We are specialists in this area and we can quickly and efficiently advise you whether you have a claim, if you can bring one and the likely compensation you may be awarded.

 

Coeliac UK Provide Tips On Membership Card for Avoiding Problems Eating Out

Members of  Coeliac UK which gives advice and campaigns on behalf of those suffering from gluten intolerance have issued a very helpful card- the size of a credit card which gives excellent advice on how to avoid problems in restaurants from gluten poisoning.

The advice is on the back of the membership card which is very handy as it is likely to be in purse or wallet at the time you are out for a meal.

The advice is in four parts:

Call ahead to the Restaurant and talk to chef or waiter

This is a very sensible precaution when you know the place you are going to be eating in advance. Though the card does not say so specifically my advice is to talk to the chef if possible not the waiter. The waiter is unlikely to know in detail what goes into the dish and often is only hazily aware of dietary requirements.

Communicate with the Waiting staff when you arrive.

Again, this requires overcoming the great British reluctance to make a fuss. It is not making a fuss to feel confident that what you are eating is going to be safe and enjoyable!

Look Carefully at the Menu

This requires a bit of lateral thinking. Although some things like breadcrumbs and batter are clearly off limits it also takes a bit of imaginative thinking to envisage how things are being cooked and whether there is likely to be any danger of contamination.

Tell the Restaurant owner and Staff about Coeliac Society Accreditation Schemes

It is useful as a final thought to try and raise awareness of the coeliac condition where possible.

FINAL THOUGHT:

Although the card is a very good idea the ULTIMATE responsibility for ensuring that you receive a gluten free meal if requested is the restaurant owner. If they fail to ensure this and you suffer a reaction they are liable to pay compensation for damages.

You should always seek legal advice on this – it is only by holding restaurants properly to account that future mistakes will be minimised.

Further information can be found at Coeliac UK at https://www.coeliac.org.uk/home/