Holiday Food Poisoning and Your Rights

The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 apply to all package holidays and they make the tour operator or holiday provider responsible for all services which are provided as part of a package holiday including:

If you suffer food poisoning or any other type of holiday illness on holiday which was not your fault you can make a claim for compensation against the tour operator when you return to the UK.

Food poisoning can be serious and if you suffer illness when you are thousands of miles from home it can seem even worse. Frequently asked questions about holiday include:

1. What causes holiday food poisoning?

Food poisoning is caused by eating food or drink contaminated with bacteria. Common causes of food poisoning are cross-contamination when the same chopping board is used to prepare different foods without being washed in between or when meat is allowed to drip onto other food in a fridge. Undercooked chicken, for example, can cause serious illness as it carries the Salmonella bacterium. When infected food is consumed, it releases toxins into the digestive system, causing illness.

2. Who is most susceptible to holiday?

Anyone can be affected by food poisoning but children, older people, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to suffer serious symptoms.

3. What symptoms can I expect if I contract on holiday?

symptoms can vary but typical symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and fever. If you suffer you may also suffer headaches, listlessness and general lack of energy.

4. What is E-coli and how does it develop?

E-coli is a type of bacterium that is found in the digestive system of both humans and animals and it normally develops after eating raw or undercooked meat and unwashed vegetables. E.coli is also commonly contracted by drinking unpasteurised milk or untreated water.

5. How long does Salmonella last?

Salmonella normally lasts between 4 and 7 days and the bacteria are commonly found in seafood, poultry, eggs and unpasteurised milk. You must seek medical help if you suffer symptoms of diarrhoea and sickness on holiday and also get checked out by your own doctor when you return to the UK.

6. How can I avoid holiday food poisoning?

You can make sure all meat you eat is thoroughly cooked and all food is served at the correct temperature. If standards of hygiene are below standard at your holiday hotel and/or if other holidaymakers are sick after eating the food, make a complaint to the holiday rep and contact a personal injury solicitor when you return to the UK.

7. How common is holiday food poisoning?

You are much more likely to avoid holiday food poisoning than to contract it but cases of holiday illness have increased during the past 12 months particularly in all-inclusive holiday hotels.

If you suffer holiday food poisoning after eating in a holiday hotel which is part of a package tour, contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as you return to the UK for advice about claiming compensation.