Food safety and food poisoning


If you suspect that you have food poisoning, it is important that you contact or visit your family doctor (GP). Food poisoning symptoms can occur days after you have eaten contaminated food.

Symptoms of food poisoning usually include one or more of the following:

  • Stomach pains
  • Vomiting
  • Fever and
  • Diarrhoea

You should always report a confirmed food poisoning illness to your Local Health Office or the Food Safety Auhority of Ireland (FSAI). If other people report illness associated with similar products or outlets, your report will help highlight the precise numbers of people affected. This will also permit the public health doctors and environmental health officers to identify problems. Your vigilance in pointing out a problem can prevent others becoming seriously ill.


If you have eaten or bought food that is not safe or of a satisfactory standard, you have the right to make a formal complaint. Food is considered unsafe/unsatisfactory when it:

  • Results in you experiencing vomiting, diarrhoea or stomach pains
  • Contains a foreign object, for example, glass, insects, hair
  • Is contaminated by chemicals such as disinfectants or detergents
  • Appears to be contaminated in some way - this may be noticed by a bad taste or smell

In addition, you can also make a complaint if you are unhappy with the hygiene standard in a food premises, e.g., supermarket, restaurant, etc.

If you suspect that there is something wrong with the food you have been served or purchased

When eating out:

  • Do not accept an unsatisfactory meal in a restaurant or café – send it back, leave or ask for an entirely fresh serving on a clean plate
  • Always remember that hot food must be served piping hot

From take-aways

Store the affected food in a sealed container in the fridge until it is examined by the authorities.

Purchased products

  • Make a note of when and where the food was purchased, when the food was first opened and when the problem was first noticed
  • Keep the food product in the fridge or freezer, cover it and store it away from other food
  • Do not remove any foreign objects from the food product
  • Keep all the labels and packaging from the food product


Analysis of food samples

The Public Analyst Laboratory provides analysis of food samples if there is a complaint. There is no charge for this if a food complaint is submitted through the Environmental Health Service Offices. There is a fee for food sample analysis if you submit samples directly to the laboratory.

How to apply

If you have a complaint regarding food or a food premises, you should contact the Environmental Health Officer in your Local Health Office or the Food Safety Authority of Ireland as soon as possible.

If you submit a food complaint, the unfit food may be sent to the Public Analyst Laboratory in your region for analysis and you will be notified of the result. On the other hand, you can have suspect food analysed independently by contacting your local Public Analyst Laboratory yourself.

Where to apply

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

The Exchange
George's Dock
Dublin 1
D01 P2V6

Tel: +353 1 8171300
Locall: 1890 336677
Fax: +353 1 8171301
Page edited: 25 February 2015