How to make a claim for food poisoning on holiday

So you’ve read our handy guide on Holiday Sickness / Illness Law and your rights and you feel you’ve got grounds for a claim again your tour operator. Whats the best way for you to proceed?

In order to put you in the best position to successfully make a claim against for Food Poisoning / Sickness while on holiday we suggest you take the following steps.

Collect the facts while still on holiday

  • Take a sample of the food you think caused your illness. Ensure it is stored in a clean, airtight container.
  • Keep a detailed diary of and vomiting / sickness or diarrhea episodes. You should also include details of any stomach / abdominal pain, side affects, general feeling and sleep patterns.
  • Take video footage or photographs of any poor food hygiene practices in the hotel. Pay particular attention to any food preparation, servicing and storage areas.
  • Keep a food diary and make a note of what food and drink you have eaten, and from where, in the days before you became ill. In order to keep your records as accurate as possible we suggest doing this as soon as possible after the first signs of illness.
  • If there are a number of other hotel residents also suffering with illness take their full contact details.
  • If a Doctor or medical professional is called to your aid then ask for a copy of their report, diagnosis or any prescribed medicines. Also keep a record of the Drs name, practice and any assistants they may have present.
  • Keep any packaging for any pills or medicines required as a result of your sickness. If you have to replace any clothes, bed linen or experience any other expense as a direct result of your illness then keep these too.
  • Report your illness to the hotel on site representative and tour operator ASAP. If there is a sickness / accident book in the hotel then fill this in and ask for a copy. You should ask for written confirmation of your complaint.
  • Keep full and detailed records of your complaints including any verbal exchanges in relation to your sickness.

Important Notice

Under no circumstances accept any good will gestures made by hotel staff, representative or the tour operator. Accepting any good till offer will harm your ability to successfully claim.

We understand that the steps above might be a great idea in hindsight however the more information and evidence you can collect will increase your chances of a successful claim. If you are too ill to collect this information then we suggest you instruct another member of your party or a helpful fellow hotel guest.

After you return home

  • Immediately seek medical advice from your GP / Doctor. If food poisoning is suspected they may take a stool sample so the particular type of bacteria can be identified. Again ask for copies of any diagnosis or details of prescriptions provided.
  • Continue to keep both a food and medical diary, be as detailed as you can. If required take photograghs or videos of any “incidents”.
  • Follow up your complaint to the tour operator. Continue to keep detailed records of any calls, emails, verbal conversations or letters.

The information you collect will be vital in proving that your sickness was a result of the food you have been provided by your tour operator


If you were unable to collect the contact details of other hotel residents that may have also fallen sick during your stay it might be worth checking TripAdvisor. Disgruntled guests often resort to airing their issues publicly with the Hotel / Tour operator. This  may help provide further evidence of poor food hygiene levels during your stay, helping to further back up your claim.

Information, Information Information

Some of our suggestions above may seem a little pedantic however we urge you collect as much information and evidence as you possibly can. The information you collect will be vital in proving that your sickness was a result of the food you have been provided by your tour operator. If this is the case then you have a high possibility of pursing and winning a claim against them under regulation 15 of the Package Travel Regulations. If you haven’t already read our page on Holiday Sickness / Illness Law and your rights please do so.

After Care

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for private medical care as part of your claim. Due to the high costs of such care we suggest that you follow the advise from your legal representative. They may be able to provide you with assurances that these costs will be fully covered.

This brings us neatly on to…

Who shall I get to represent me?

Contrary to what the adverts say, it may be quicker and easier to come to an agreement directly with your tour operator. This may save a lot of hassle for you and the operator and will prevent the need for costly legal action. We’ve put together a page about how to make a claim without legal representation. What ever you choose to do, make sure you do your homework.

Using a claims company

If you do wish to have a claims company assist you then please take the following into account

  • How long they have been in practicing
  • Their success rate
  • Do they specialise in holiday food posioning claims
  • Their willingness to take on your claim
  • The total fee they will take from the claim if applicable
  • Do they offer no win / no fee. How will this effect the amount you receive
  • Their willingness to provide references

We strongly suggest that you “shop around” when deciding who should represent your case. Choosing the wrong company could affect your cases of winning a case and the amount of compensation you receive.

If you’ve had previous experiences or you’re in the process of working to resolve a case with one of the many claims provides then please get in touch in the comments below.

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