The council's Environmental Health Officers investigate notifications of food poisoning from GPs, the public, businesses and other local authorities.
Food Poisoning Notifications
By law doctors are required to notify the Health Protection Agency (HPA) of anyone who is, or is suspected of, suffering from food poisoning and details are passed to Environmental Health at the council for investigation, which is treated as confidential.
Food Poisoning Investigations
Once a food poisoning notification is received from the HPA, we will contact the person with the symptoms and ask them questions regarding:
what and where they have eaten prior to their illness
details of their symptoms
whether they have been on holiday abroad
whether or not their GP has taken a faecal sample
whether anybody else they ate with also experienced any symptoms
The reasons for investigation are to:
attempt to find out what may have caused the illness
prevent any further illness occurring if possible
find out whether any local business premises are implicated and inspect where necessary
give the person or the person's carer more information
In addition the Consultant Microbiologist at the hospital notifies our Consultant in Communicable Disease Control of any Eastbourne resident in hospital who is suffering from gastroenteritis which may be food related. This information is also passed to us.
Food Poisoning Outbreaks
If a number of people ate at the same venue and have the same food poisoning-type symptoms, this may be due to a food poisoning outbreak. Our investigation into the outbreak will involve:
interviewing people who are ill
interviewing others who ate at the venue but didn't have symptoms
taking samples if appropriate
inspecting the implicated venue
If there is enough evidence implicating a food premises within the area as a possible source of the outbreak, we may decide to carry out a food hygiene inspection.
If you suspect you may be suffering from food poisoning go and see your GP who may arrange for a faecal sample to be taken. Alternatively we can arrange this and send it off for analysis.
We have extensive guidance for food businesses on food hygiene. Go to our Business Food Safety section under Related Pages.
There is also advice on this site about food safety at home and eating out, to help you and your family avoid food poisoning.
You can find further information about types of food bugs and food poisoning symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention on the NHS website.