The Most Common Types of Food Poisoning to Watch Out For

The Most Common Types of Food Poisoning to Watch Out For
A scientific review by the food standards agency (FDA) has revealed that around 2.4 million cases of foodborne illnesses occur every year in the UK alone. Of this statistic, it is estimated that around 180 people in the UK actually die from foodborne illnesses. These figures are immense and are only going up, with the FDA reporting a large increase since 2009. With this in mind, it is important for all of us to be familiar with the most frequently seen types of food poisoning, and the most common sources of food that they are caused by.

How Can I Prevent Food Poisoning?

The prevention of food poisoning of course occurs mostly in the kitchen. Creeds Direct offer a series of blogs regarding food safety, as well as stocking the equipment needed for a germ-free kitchen. Read up about the principles of HACCP or the colour coding system on their blog.

The Most Common Methods You Can Implement To Prevent Food Poisoning Include:

  • A good colour-coded kitchen system
  • Cleaning your kitchen thoroughly, especially when working with high-risk foods
  • Organise your fridge safely according to storage guidelines
  • Use a temperature probe to check the internal temperature of high-risk foods
  • Make sure that your refrigerator is between 3℃ and 5℃, the optimum temperature for safe food storage.
Now let’s take a look at the most common types of food poisoning, their sources, symptoms and onset times.

The Most Common Types Of Food Poisoning


Campylobacter, which is nicknamed the ‘bbq bug’, got its popular nickname from its prevalence in the UK and United States. It is the most common bacteria for food poisoning, with the CDC reporting that in the United States an estimated 1.5 million people get ill from the bacteria every year. The bacteria usually occurs in isolated events and has an onset time of 1-10 days before symptoms could begin to show.

Sources Of Campylobacter

  • Raw/undercooked poultry
  • Contact with infected animals
  • Unpasteurised milk
  • Untreated water

Symptoms Of Campylobacter Food Poisoning

  • Diarrhoea (sometimes bloody)
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fever
  • Vomiting


Bacillus bacteria are found in soil and vegetation that produces toxins. The bacteria have the ability to multiply quickly when left in room temperature conditions for a period of time. Bacillus has an onset time of 1-6 hours post-consumption before symptoms will begin to show.

Sources Of Bacillus

  • Rice
  • Prepared foods that have been left out in room temperature conditions for too long i.e soups and sauces

Symptoms of Bacillus

  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Escherichia coli (E.coli)

E.coli is found in the intestines of humans and many animals, rendering a lot of the strains completely harmless. However, some strains can cause illness in the form of food poisoning. The onset time of E.coli can range from 12 hours to up to 3 days.

Sources of E.coli

  • Undercooked ground beef
  • Unpasteurised milk
  • Soft cheeses, made from whole milk

Symptoms of E.coli

  • Severe diarrhoea (usually bloody)
  • Severe abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting

Food poisoning duration: Definition, duration, and prevention


Listeria is a bacteria found in soil, water and some animals too. It is an unusual strain of food poisoning as the bacteria can grow even in the cold temperature of the fridge. Listeria is most dangerous for pregnant women because listeriosis can cause a number of problems with pregnancy and childbirth.

Sources of Listeria

  • Soft cheese
  • Ready-to-eat food i.e pre-made sandwiches
  • Poultry
  • Meat
  • Pate

Symptoms Of Listeria Food Poisoning

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting


Salmonella bacteria can be found in contaminated food as well as on infected animals and in their faeces. In particular, it is children under the age of 5 who are most likely to get a salmonella infection. The illness can be quite serious and has an onset time of 6 hours to 6 days before symptoms may begin to show.

Sources Of Salmonella

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Eggs
  • Fruits
  • Some processed foods

Symptoms Of Salmonella Food Poisoning

  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Stomach cramps

Dealing With Food Poisoning

When suffering from food poisoning of any sort, it is crucial to get enough rest. Your body is trying to fight off and recover from infection, it will need all the strength it can get.

Other Recommended Courses Of Action Include-

  • Drink plenty of fluids, ideally water
  • Wash hands and dishes regularly in hot, soapy water
  • Follow the BRAT diet – standing for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast.
  • Take over the counter medicines to help with nausea and vomiting