Who Do We Sue for Food Poisoning on Holiday?
If you’re on a package holiday and fall ill from food poisoning at your hotel or resort, your tour operator is responsible, which means that legal action would be taken against the tour operator.
It’s your tour operator’s job to ensure all the services that make up your package holiday are provided with reasonable skill and care. So if you’re served food that’s unfit for human consumption and you become ill as a consequence, you can claim compensation from them.
However, some circumstances may apply where you’ll need to make a food poisoning claim against a foreign defendant abroad. That’s why you need to claim using specialist Holiday Claims Solicitors who are experts in international travel law.
At Simpson Millar we have a strong track record of helping people who fell ill on holiday get compensation. For example:
Common Sources of Food Poisoning on Holiday
Poorly Stored or Prepared food
When food isn’t properly stored or prepared, harmful bacteria or parasites are able to multiply and spread, which in turn leads to unsuspecting holidaymakers getting food poisoning. Frequent food storage and preparation issues include:
- Food being served lukewarm, thereby creating a breeding ground for bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter
- Food not being cooked thoroughly - pink and bloody chicken and runny eggs are known causes of Salmonella and Campylobacter
- Food that’s been reheated or left standing for far too long
- Flies and insects contaminating food
- Birds and other animals being allowed to contaminate food service areas
- Raw and cooked food coming into contact with one another
- Infected or ill food handlers touching and preparing food
- Ice being served that hasn’t been prepared using filtered water
- Salads and fruit washed in tap water, which may lead to infections such as Shigella or E. coli
Other Sources of Sickness on Holiday
If hotel and resort swimming pools aren’t well maintained and disinfected with chlorine, harmful bacteria and parasites can survive and spread. Poor hygiene in a swimming pool can lead to holidaymakers getting ear infections, as well as the sickness bug Cryptosporidium. This can leave people with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, weight loss and loss of appetite.
Dirty Hotel Room
If your hotel room is unclean or damp, it’s very important that you complain straight away. E. coli can be contracted through contact with an unclean carpet, and you’re leaving yourself open to respiratory complication such as bronchitis if you sleep in a room where damp is present. You can ask the rep from your tour operator or the hotel management to move you to a new room if you identify any of these problems in your room.
You may be at risk of catching a bacterial infection if the last visitor to a public toilet hasn’t washed their hands and touched, for example, the door knob or handle when exiting. You should therefore take extra precautions abroad to avoid getting a holiday sickness, such as using antibacterial gel.
Your holiday tour operator is liable if any of these failings are present at your all-inclusive resort. Indeed, the Package Travel Regulations 1992 state that your tour operator is responsible for every aspect of your package holiday, including everything that’s provided to you by a third party, which was sold at a single price.
So if you fall ill because of poor hygiene or sloppy food management, you’ll be entitled to claim compensation. You may even be able to make a Group Illness Compensation Claim if other guests at your accommodation fell ill at the same time, which may boost your chances of success.
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