Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating contaminated food. It's not usually serious and most people get better within a few days without treatment.
In most cases, food is contaminated by bacteria or a virus like:
Food Standards Scotland has further information about bacteria and viruses that can cause food poisoning.
Symptoms of food poisoning
Symptoms of food poisoning include:
- feeling sick (nausea)
- being sick (vomiting)
- diarrhoea, which may contain blood or mucus
- stomach cramps and abdominal pain
- a lack of energy and weakness
- loss of appetite
- a high temperature of 38C or above (fever)
- aching muscles
The symptoms of food poisoning usually begin within 1 to 2 days of eating contaminated food. They can also start a few hours later or several weeks later.
What to do if you have food poisoning
How you get food poisoning
Food poisoning is caused by eating something that's been contaminated with germs. Any type of food can cause food poisoning.
Food can be contaminated if it's
- not cooked or reheated thoroughly
- not stored correctly – for example, it's not been frozen or chilled
- left out for too long
- handled by someone who's ill or hasn't washed their hands
- eaten after its 'use by' date
- not reheating cooked food well enough
Further information on preparing and cooking food safely
Preventing infection when you're ill