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Food poisoning on holiday

Food Poisoning Claims against Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook expected to Rise

Holiday Accident and Illness Claims Manager Simon Lomax

Dated: 23rd July 2015

As the 2015 school holidays approach, Simpson Millar Travel Lawyers expect the number of food poisoning claims against the major tour operators to rise substantially. Enough is still not being done to protect holidaymakers from infective gastroenteritis.

Food Poisoning Prevention

Package holiday food poisoning complaint

Preventing food poisoning is not just a matter of personal health. With the development of tourism in destinations such as Egypt and Morocco, the ever present danger of a holiday illness from the consumption of contaminated food and/or poor hygiene is becoming a major public concern.

It is the responsibility of tour operators and their hotel suppliers to maintain a high standard of hygiene to protect holidaymakers from food poisoning.

Pursuant to the 1992 Package Travel Regulations those travelling on regulated package holidays with reputable tour operators such as Thomson, First Choice, Thomas Cook etc., can claim compensation if they are exposed to pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli or campylobacter.

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Your Rights

The law obligates the tour operator to exercise reasonable skill and care in the provision of its facilities and services, and this includes the restaurants and bars.

Food Poisoning Bacteria

Victims of infective gastroenteritis caused by food often do not realise that they have ingested a nasty holiday bug. This is because food poisoning bacteria do not affect the taste, smell or appearance of the food.

There is no way to tell whether the food served on the buffet will cause illness or not without costly testing.

However, precautions can be taken if you note that the food is not cooked properly or is maintained at a luke-warm temperature then the risks of bacteria being in food increases.

Food poisoning bacteria can severely affect the very young, the elderly, the weak and the infirm rapidly causing dehydration. Tour operators therefore need to do more to prevent outbreaks of illness because group litigation is all too common.


If you experience illness and your tour operator says that the hotel complies with local safety standards, remind them that food safety legislation is now incorporating HACCP on an international level.

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Hazardous Analysis, Critical Control Points (HACCP)

Pioneered by NASA in the 1960s and is now recognised as the safest and most effective food safety system in the world

Compensation claim for illness on package holiday

Simon Lomax, Simpson Millar’s, Holiday Illness Claims manager said:

"Effective food safety education and training is key to successful HACCP implementation and the reduction if compensation claims made to tour operators pursuant to regulation 15(2) of the 1992 Package Travel Regulations."

"The problem for solicitors pursuing claims for food poisoning is that the tour operator suggests that it has no control over HACCP documents as they are in the hand of their third party supplier. Without these documents it is however unlikely that holiday companies will be in a position to defend claims without producing comprehensive HACCP documentation showing that reasonable skill and care was exercised."

If you have been ill abroad on a holiday with Thomson, First Choice, Thomas Cook etc. and have genuine complaints about hygiene why not call one of our specialist travel lawyers for advice on No Win No Fee representation.

Get in touch for a chat about how we can help you by filling in our quick, no obligation enquiry form and we will call you back or you can call us directly on 0808 145 1353.