Holiday Illness Facts – Did you Know?


Did the waiter at your hotel look at bit peaky? Food poisoning specialist Solicitors Simpson Millar explain that illness outbreaks at hotels abroad are often caused by an ill or sick food handler.

Cooking food properly and thoroughly is something we often take for granted when visiting foreign destinations. But what happens when food is cooked properly but the person cooking it is ill?

We expect hotels to be clean and hygienic and for food to be prepared to a high standard but every summer holiday season there are still large outbreaks of illness reported at hotels abroad that result in often hundreds of holiday makers falling sick or ill due to food poisoning.

Holiday Illness Solicitors

So what causes food poisoning? Simpson Millar’s Holiday Illness Claims Solicitors specialise in holiday compensation claims and deal with some of the most common forms of food poisoning such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and E Coli; which involve contaminated food.

However they also find that they are increasingly being contacted by holiday makers returning home ill after foreign holidays with more unusual forms of illness.

The main cause of food poisoning on holiday is surprisingly not due to food being inadequately cooked as we would imagine but is due to it being contaminated by a sick food handler or another infected guest.

Hepatitis A is spread from person to person and in hotels can be spread by a single infected food handler touching or preparing food. This infection can also be passed through the food chain by shellfish that are harvested from sea beds polluted by human sewage.

In America in 2003 more than 500 people were infected at one restaurant after green onions contaminated by the infection were eaten.

Norovirus is an infection that is spread virally and is extremely contagious. It is spread in very much the same way as a common cold and often referred to as a winter vomiting bug. Foods commonly associated with outbreaks of illness at hotels abroad where the infection is viral include salads, fruits and raw shellfish where transmission is often via a sick food handler.

Shigella Sonnei research again links infected food handlers to this infection whilst foods grown in contaminated environments are carriers of the bacteria.

Salmonella is a communicable disease which means it can be spread from person to person and perhaps by an infected food handler who has not observed strict personal hygiene standards after using the toilet.

Each of these infections can be avoided if food is handled hygienically but often and especially in developing countries where living standards are low and wages are poor these infections become more prevalent.

Many food handling staff in developing countries live in poorly equipped accommodation where sanitation levels and the general infrastructure may be weak. Taking unpaid time off work is not an option for many low paid staff who depend on their pay to survive.

Tour operators have a duty to ensure that you are not exposed to food poisoning and together tour operators who are members of the Federation of Tour Operators work together to try and raise standards abroad which Simpson Millar advocate must extend to the welfare of those employees who work at hotels.

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