Infectious diseases and food contamination

Swine Flu

We investigate warnings of infectious diseases (particularly food poisoning) from GPs, the public, businesses and other local authorities.

The council is responsible for the inspection of food retailers and providers in the borough, to ensure that the food hygiene in premises and quality of food meet legal requirements, and the food is correctly labelled and compositional standards are met.

All premises are inspected on a priority basis according to risk.  New premises should register with the team so that an initial visit can be carried out and advice given.

The service is responsible for checking the food hygiene and standard of food premises. It also deals with any health and safety issues in food premises.  The food safety service is responsible for restaurants, and all food premises that provide food, whether money is exchanged or not.

Once a food poisoning notification has been received, we will contact the person with the symptoms and ask them questions regarding:

  • What and where they've eaten prior to their illness
  • Details of their symptoms
  • Whether they've been on holiday abroad
  • Whether or not their GP has taken a faecal sample and
  • Whether anybody else they ate with also experienced any symptoms. We may request that person to provide a faecal sample

If a person with symptoms is a food handler or health care/nursery worker who has direct contact serving food, with highly susceptible patients or persons in whom an intestinal infection would have serious consequences, they cannot return to work until they are symptom-free for 48 hours.  They must also inform their employer of their symptoms.

Parents or guardians of children aged under five years or children or adults unable to implement good standards of personal hygiene, are advised to keep them away from school or other establishments until they have also been symptom-free for 48 hours.

Visit for more advice about Swine Flu.

Food poisoning outbreaks

If a number of people ate at the same venue and have the same food poisoning-type symptoms, this may be due to a food poisoning outbreak. Our investigation into the outbreak will involve:

  • interviewing people who are ill
  • interviewing others who ate at the venue but didn't have symptoms
  • taking faecal and food samples (if appropriate) and
  • inspecting the implicated venue

If there is enough evidence implicating a food premises within the area as a possible source of the outbreak, we may decide to carry out a food hygiene inspection.

If you believe that you are suffering from food poisoning (i.e. sickness and diarrhoea) caught from a food premises, please contact us using the details below.

For further information contact:

Consumer and Business Regulations Service - Food Safety
6th Floor
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 2BG

Open: 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday

Tel: 020 7364 5008
Fax: 020 7364 6901

Email: foodsafety@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Opening hours are: 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday

For more information, visit the Food Standard Agency’s website http://www.food.gov.uk/.

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