The Health Act 1956 lists certain infectious diseases that must be notified to the Medical Officer of Health who oversees public health in Selwyn. This allows authorities to watch for outbreaks and trends. The list includes diseases such as Salmonella and Campylobacter.

If you are diagnosed with a notifiable food poisoning infection, a health officer will contact you for an interview to try to establish the source of your infection and to help you prevent further spread of the disease.

If you have any food left that you think is the source of your illness, keep it in a sealed container in the fridge as it may be needed for testing to confirm your suspicions.

Various plates of food

Exclusion from Work or School

You may have to take time off from school or work until your symptoms pass and/or further faecal samples return clear tests. Each case will be considered individually and a decision on the length of exclusion from school or work will be based on the risk of spread of the infection.

You will need to take time off work if you work in:

  • The Food Industry
  • Hospitals
  • Custodial Institutions
  • Childcare Centres

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is the general term applied to illnesses picked up from eating food or consuming water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, protozoa, chemicals, or natural organic substances (such as green potato poisons). The severity and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the illness involved. Symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Fever

The food responsible for the illness could have been consumed from two hours to weeks earlier. Most people will simply experience an inconvenience, but food poisoning can be dangerous, particularly among the very young, very old, pregnant women, and people already suffering from other illnesses

If you suspect you have food poisoning

If you think you have food poisoning, you can contact us to discuss the situation but you should contact your own doctor first, especially if you think you need medication to relieve the symptoms.

A faecal sample may be requested to confirm the presence of food poisoning organisms and to identify which type of infection you have.