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Jul 21, 2010 03:14 PM

Food poisoning question

Is it possible for 2 people to eat the exact same meal and one have food poisoning and the other feels fine? I had a friend over for dinner last night (younger and probably healthier person than me) and she said she was up all night in the bathroom with the runs and throwing up and is still sick as a dog. I feel perfectly fine. She wasn't trying to pin it on me but I feel responsible anyway. Could I have poisoned her?

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  1. Could you have? Sure. One piece of food could be tainted and another not. But it's MUCH more likely that she caught it from someone she'd come in contact with during the day. People regularly blame food when it's not the culprit at all.

    1. yup. everyone has different levels of immunity and sensitivity, and what may send one person to the bathroom for 24 hours may not have the slightest impact on someone else. it all depends on what you've been exposed to before, and how hardy your defenses are.

      then again, your friend could have gotten sick from something else to which you WEREN'T exposed...lunch, perhaps?

      1. I concur with c_oliver and ghg. Your friend may have (indeed, probably did) gotten sick elsewhere (perhaps not even food--she may have touched a dirty doorknob or something). I would not assume it was your food. Also, food poisoning doesn't necessarily strike that immediately.

        3 Replies
        1. re: nofunlatte

          Only time I've had food poisoning in the past 5 years, was when I went out to lunch with 7 other coworkers. 3 of us had the tuna steak sandwich. I was done 2 hours after lunch, 1 coworker was fine til she got home (5 hours later), 3rd one never had an issue. None of the other 5 folks got ill at all.

          Proves nothing other than that pretty much every reply here is somewhat correct.

          1. re: L2k

            This was DH and I a few weeks ago. He was sick about an hour after eating some Vietanmese we order I was sick 5 hours later. It was the only thing we ate that was the same that day. So I assumed it was that. Not 100% but, I do know that he has always had a sensitive tummy. He was sick for 3 days. Never realized I had a stomach like a rock....well, almost :S

            1. re: livetocook

              Being married, you would naturally be susceptible to illnesses brought home from work or wherever, it's so rare that you get sick from something you ate an hour ago.. i'm guessing you were both exposed to something some other place.

        2. There are only 2 food poisoning pathogens that show symptoms in less than 8 hours--salmonella and shigella. All others take at least 8 hours to express themselves. Sick that night from dinner? Not super likely.

          2 Replies
          1. re: runwestierun

            Staphylococcal "food poisoning" which is caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria has a very rapid onset of symptoms.

            1. re: runwestierun

              Yep...staph is one of the most common, and it comes on very quickly.

            2. Yes, it's possible. The type of food poisoning is the key in most cses. Botulism, for example, is always is spread throughout whatever food was subject to the conditions that brought it about, so it doesn't matter whether you have a bit from the top or a bit from the botton, it's all going to bite you hard. Sometimes VERY hard! Avoid botulism!

              Salmonella grows in colonies but will take a bit of time to reach uniform density throughout a dish. A large tray of potato salad set out at a buffet or picnic may have a salmonella colony growing at the top left corner, and ONLY people who eat from that section OR serve themselves with a spoon that has just been used in that section will get sick. The spoon will eventually help spread the salmonella all over. Somebody needs to invent some sort of "3D glasses" that allows you to see where the salmonella is partying!

              But yes, it's possible for people to have the same thing for lunch and only one of them get ill.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Caroline1

                Wow, that's very helpful information to me! Several years ago my office had a food day with a picnic theme for a Thursday lunch. Beginning Friday night and throughout the cursed three-day weekend, most of us got sick to varying degrees (I was one of the worst), but some didn't get very sick, and 2 didn't get sick at all. We tried so hard to figure it out and never could.