How long does food poisoning last

Food poisoning

Food poisoning is a reaction to food intolerance caused by consuming contaminated or spoiled food. In contrast to this, food intolerances can also have other causes and show reactions, such as a reaction of the body to a non-toxic food component (e.g. histamine, fructose or lactose intolerance).


The causative agents of food poisoning can be microorganisms or toxins that a germ produces in the course of its metabolism. Most often it is caused by bacteria ingested through contaminated food. The first symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea appear 5 to 72 hours after eating the infected food. Food poisoning is one of the notifiable diseases in Austria. The umbrella term 'food poisoning' is divided into several sub-forms: food intoxication, food infection and toxi-infection.


Food poisoning can also be caused by other pathogens, such as:

  • Mushroom poisons
  • Heavy metals (e.g. arsenic)
  • Plant toxins (e.g. atropine, solanine)
  • Toxins in clams, fish, or shellfish
  • Mycotoxins (e.g. mold)


In the case of a bacterial food infection, the pathogen settles directly on the intestinal mucosa:

  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
  • Escherichia coli
  • EHEC
  • Yersinia
  • Shigella
  • cholera