Thursday, February 17, 2011

Food Poisoning

The life of a food blogger has many risks- there's always the risk of chefs and restaurateurs getting mad at you for photographing their food, the risk of putting on the dreaded bloggers bulge and of course, with eating out a lot, an increased risk of food poisoning.

Food poisoning is said to affect about 5 million Aussies every year and this year, unfortunately, I'm one of them.

On Valentines Day Night, C and I decided to get some take away rather than dine out. Basically both of us had left it too late to book somewhere we actually wanted to go and I could not be bothered to cook. We went, picked up our takeaway, had a nice bottle of tempranillo and then we retired to the balcony to catch a breeze. About 45 minutes after dinner, mid- sentence, I started to get the most intense, sudden cramping ever. Needless to say a trip to the bathroom was required where I spent the next couple of hours hugging a bucket and the toilet alternatively (or both at the same time). Too much information? Well sorry, but I want you to get the point. It really sucked.

I had to ask some advice on twitter (stay hydrated and go to the doctor if it lasts longer than 24 hours or is really serious) as I couldn't get onto my Mum and heard so many stories from people tweeting me back with their own food poisoning stories.

Luckily C didn't eat the same dish that I did, so he was spared, which was lucky for him, and really lucky for me because he had to look after me! So- apart from getting some maxalon off a nurse friend of mine, trying to drink fluids and placing a bucket beside the bed, I didn't really do much about it. I ummed and ahhed- should I or shouldn't I ring the establishment to let them know?

Before you ask- I'm pretty damn sure it was food poisoning and I'm pretty damn sure it was my dinner that caused it. I'm not going to tell you where I ate, but I will tell you that it did have a seafood element. 

I have had food poisoning previously which was confirmed by testing and this was a pretty similar experience. Last time, I did ring the restaurant and let them know- and they were extremely cagey. Unapologetic, unwilling to accept any responsibility, and unashamedly telling me that it couldn't have possibly been their meal that caused the poisoning as their produce is all 'fresh'. Perhaps I should forward some of the QLD Govt's cards on food safety so they can do a little bit of light reading and read up on the causes of food poisoning. Did you know that rice is responsible for a huge amount of poisoning cases every year? Even more so than more well known culprits like chicken!

After this more recent experience,  I didn't end up ringing to let them know because I think that they probably would have given a similar response to the last restaurant I got food poisoning from. 

So tell me readers.... have you had food poisoning? 
If so, what have you done about it?
What sort of food did you get the poisoning from?
If you are a restaurateur or a hospitality worker, what is your response to people who phone up with reports of food poisoning?

18 fabulous comments:

Mel Kettle said...

I think they need to know and you should also report it to Queensland Health in case you are not the only one to suffer the same fate.

Ally said...

Awww! That sucks. So unromantic. Hope you recovered quickly.

I had terrible food poisoning in Egypt. Thank you, hotel buffet. The phrase "shitting water" comes to mind (too much? Too much.)

I agree with Mel - they need to know. It's such a massive health risk!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

the food must have been so nasty to get a response in 45 minutes..

thinking about it, i usually dont return to the restaurant if i know i ate something there that gave me the toilet visits.

Leah said...

I've never had food poisoning that I can remember...although I have a sketcy recollection of getting it from KFC once back in the 80s. Serves us right I guess! I think you should probably tell the restaurant - they will probably react like you expect initially but it might pull them up if they have some dodgy practices.

Mrs BC said...

In my last year of corporate life the only holiday I was allowed was a week off with food poisoning, from preseasoned cook at home chicken, from a supermarket that rhymes with 'Doles'. Day 3 of vomiting blood from both ends & my boss was on the phone asking why I couldn't respond to emails - what a mole! I ended up needing a needle from my docter to stop the cramping. Didn't eat chicken for a year after that, & still can't eat anything 'preseasoned'. Ugh..
Hope you feel better soon!
Mrs BC

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh GG that's terrible! And on Valentines day too :( I haven't yet had serious food poisoning but even mild one is excruciating enough. I hope you are ok!

The InTolerant Chef said...

Definitely tell them. They may not 'agree' with you, but just the idea that they might get in trouble may make them think twice about how/what they cooked next time. I'm a chef, and a lot of places won't even let you get a doggy bag any more in case you don't treat it properly once it leaves the premises.
If it's more of a local grab and dash place, a visit from the health guys might be a good thing to give them a wake up call.
I work for a big organisation and our safety practices are almost too strict! One of the latest is banning tea towels. Every chef sticks one through his apron belt, and the concern is cross contamination. I guess it's a good idea really.
Hope you feel better soon.

Stu said...

I think in the interests of public awareness you should name the restaurant. These people gave you food poisoning through a lack of hygiene, which, in my book at least, is number one when visiting a restaurant. They drop the ball on that most basic of requirements and they deserve to be named and shamed.

Rocio Rincon said...

Oh so sad, and on Valentine's day, OMG... I hate when that happens, especially the cramps...I hope you are feeling better. :)

Xoxo ♥

Rocio R.

Julia @Mélanger said...

You poor thing. I've had food poisoning only once, and it was a horrible experience I never want to repeat. It was from some chicken I ate out at a little cafe near me. About 6-8 hours later, I started to get clammy, nauseous and then had to rush to the bathroom. I was sick -- and not far from a bucket! -- for about 24-36 hours. Nasty stuff.

I never called the place either because I figured they'd deny it. I have just never gone back. I was so paranoid when I was pregnant about food poisoning. I really avoided eating out because I worried about how easy it is to get sick.

Hoping you feel better now???

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Have taken my mother-in-law to hospital emergency with suspected food-poisoning in the past, and have always been asked by staff if she's had rice - especially that which hasn't been freshly cooked, but rather cooked, cooled and reheated. We always have it mentioned to us that it's a big culprit of food-poisoning.

Hope you're feeling better though *hugs*

cusinera said...

The most memorable food poisoning I had was when I was dating my present husband 14 yrs ago. We ordered an asian crushed ice dessert with tropical fruits and sweet corn on it overseas and it "hit" me for a couple of days. During those days he was with me even in the middle of the night "calls". That's when I was set that I finally met the right guy to spend the rest of my life with=)

Those thin vermicelli rice noodles goes off easily too specially if they contain cabbage....
My tip with rice is when it is soury in smell and have that slippery texture...its basically off=)

Beques said...

My lady and i both got food poisoning from Dominos VEGETARIAN pizza. Horrible experience. It was back in my university days, and happened the week of exams. I was still feeling miserable, but decided to go to my final exam, knowing that i could run to the bathroom if necessary. Of course, there was a sign on the door saying that because of sick staff, there was only one person supervising the exam, and so we couldn't go to the bathroom for the duration!!

Luckily i was at the tail-end (no pun intended) of it, so i made it through. But it was awful.

We contacted Dominos and they just did not want to know about it. Last time.

rhubarbwhine said...

Hope you feel better, GG. I have had FP, from a BBQ chicken at a well known chicken take away place. Husband had it very badly from a seafood marinara at a resto. We share your pain x

SOL's view said...

Oh my! Glad you're over the worst now. I do worry about that so I try to do the whole cross-contamination thing, defrosting in the fridge, raw food at the bottom of the fridge, not keeping unfrozen left overs beyond 2 days, etc. I do know that rice can give you FP, and I confess that's my downfall. I buy takeaway fried rice. It's made fresh cause you can stand and watch them cook it. If I can't eat all of it, it's into the fridge overnight and eaten piping hot for breakfast or lunch the next day. Fingers crossed that's enough to keep the germs at bay! Of course, having just said that....

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Take care and it sucks to have food poisoning experience.

foodie and the chef said...

Oh no you poor thing ! I have never had food poisoning (touch wood), I hope you recover soon. :)

Anonymous said...

My partner was among about 30 people who got food poisoning at a work conference. They each had to provide a 'sample' for a case against this particular resort. I had no idea the 'sample' was being kept in our downstairs fridge for collection and almost opened the packet thinking, 'who's left some leftovers in here?' Thank goodness I didn't!!!

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