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Food Hygiene and Food Poisoning

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is caused by eating food that has been contaminated by microorganisms (pathogens), toxins or chemicals. Bacteria are the most common cause of food poisoning. It should be noted that many stomach viruses also produce similar symptoms to food poisoning and are highly contagious.


Food can be contaminated from improper handling, storage and preparation. Food that may be responsible for food poisoning can still be fresh looking and have no unusual taste. Some foods pose a greater risk of causing food poisoning and some people are at greater risk of getting food poisoning than others.


The symptoms of food poisoning can vary depending on the agent responsible for causing the illness. Common food poisoning symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Headaches

Symptoms range from mild to very severe. The majority of food poisoning incidents (from bacteria) are not caused by the last meal eaten. Food poisoning bacteria take a minimum of 6-8 hours to induce symptoms and up to three (3) days in some cases, depending on the bacteria. However, symptoms can occur more suddenly after eating toxins (e.g. toxic shellfish poisoning), Symptoms may persist for 24 hours to eight (8) days. It is often very difficult to pinpoint a direct cause of food poisoning because of these variable timelines.


The most important thing with recovery from a food borne illness is to ensure that you keep well hydrated by drinking fluids. Drink plenty of water and use oral rehydration sachets or electrolytes to keep hydrated. It is not unusual for individuals to be dehydrated for a number of days after illness. When you are able to recommence eating solid foods eat relatively bland foods and avoid acidic and spicy foods for several days. If your symptoms persist consult your GP for further advice on your recovery.


Environmental Health Officers investigate food poisoning incidents and food business hygiene complaints where the food business is located within the City of Nedlands. 

Lodging a Food Hygiene Complaint

If you have concerns regarding the hygiene standards of a food business please complete the Food Business Hygiene Complaint Form.

Lodging a Food Poisoning Complaint

1. Go to your doctor
If you think you have food poisoning, see your doctor as soon as possible and request that a faecal sample be analysed. Analysis of the sample will assist in identification of the food(s) that may have caused the food poisoning.  

2. Food consumption recall
As it may take several days for food poisoning to induce symptoms when reporting a food poisoning incident it is important to try to recall the foods that you may have consumed within at least 3 days prior to the date of the incident and if food was consumed at any other premises or if it was predominantly consumed at home.

Of particular importance is if you have eaten any;

  • premade salads;
  • sushi or similar products containing cooked and cooled rice;
  • any foods that have previously been cooked and then reheated;
  • any products which may contain raw egg (e.g. fresh mayonnaise or sauces);
  • any meats particularly chicken that may not have been cooked thoroughly;
  • any unpasteurised milk or unpasteurised milk products; or
  • any raw shellfish.

3. Food samples
Any remaining suspect food that has been immediately covered and refrigerated (at 5°C or below) or frozen, until collected by Environmental Health staff for analysis.

4. Proof of purchase
Any food packages, receipts or other evidence that have been retained, which identify the product and where it was purchased from.

5. Travel and contact with animals
It is also important to note if you have recently travelled overseas, had any contact with individuals that may have had similar gastroenteritis symptoms or had any recent contact with wild animals or birds or domestic puppies or kittens.

6. Lodge your complaint with the City
To report a food poisoning incident please complete the Food Poisoning Complaint Form.

More Information

WA Department of Health
Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Food Business Hygiene Complaint Form
Food Poisoning Complaint Form


Food Business Hygiene Complaint Form

Food Poisoning Complaint Form