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Food poisening at the same place every time

My husbands friend gets sick at the exact same restaurants (owned by the same company) every single time he eats at them ... and I mean, every single time.

It does not matter what the item is nor the fact that often we are all eating from the same combo platter (if its sushi or app's) or he orders a chicken sandwich or a Mex. dish.

No one else has this problem (meaning no one else ever gets sick) so I can't help but think its an allergy (or in his head).

I tease him that the restaurants must be too clean for his system because they have people test everything down to their ice regularly but now I'm wondering if maybe its the cause! LOL

Any thoughts on this?

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  1. I'd vote for a psychosomatic process at work. Or maybe the restaurant (chain?) uses a particular ingredient/additive to their foods that cause a reaction?

    The mind is a very powerful force. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoso...

    1 Reply
    1. re: tcamp

      I have considered an ingredient but its a chain and each place is slightly different - one is sushi; he gets sick from just eating the darned raw fish and yet, no one else even gets a grumble.

      Psychosomatic ... if its not a cleaner that that for sure LOL

    2. And he keeps going back because.....?

      6 Replies
      1. re: wyogal

        Because they offer a great value!

        1. re: redfish62

          Great value does not include getting sick repeatedly. Thinking of the Forrest Gump saying.....

          1. re: wyogal

            That was my first thought.

            "Doctor, it hurts when I do this!"

            "Then don't do that!"

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Yeah, Doctor Groucho certainly had a good prescription there :)

            1. He is not getting food poisoning, anyone who has actually had food poisoning would not even think about going back the place where you got it. I still remember the food poisoning I got from a convenience store sandwich in 1984, never ate a convenience store sandwich again.

              An upset stomach is not food poisoning.

              18 Replies
              1. re: redfish62

                and you know the details about his sickness because...? How do you know it's just an "upset stomach?"

                1. re: wyogal

                  Because anyone who has ever had real food poisoning and isnt required to wear a helmet 24/7 is not going to repeatedly subject themselves to getting it again and again.

                  1. re: twyst

                    According to the OP, they are. I'm waiting for a response from the OP. I still think it's weird that they go back, and then the "friend" is making light of the matter.

                    1. re: wyogal

                      I agree with you. No matter what the reason, even if it is "in his head", if a friend of mine repeatedly got ill from eating at a particular restaurant, I would be kind enough to suggest elsewhere, or take him up on his suggestion to eat elsewhere. If this guy is the drama king the OP suggests he is, then I am sure he would get his way (otherwise he is shaming his royal title!) . And since the OP already decided he is a drama king with no common sense, why ask the question here?

                      Anyway, there is a take-out chinese place we settled in to ordering from (we have about twenty to chose from in this nabe), because we really liked the food. It took several times experiencing a VERY upset stomach the next day before I realized it (i have a sensitive tummy to begin with). Certainly not food poisoning....but bad enough that I was glad I am currently a stay at home mom and didn't have to leave the house. My husband never had a problem. I chalked it up to an ingredient or their oil which affected me because I have a sensitive stomach to begin with. Too bad, I liked the food.

                      1. re: Justpaula

                        You didn't read all the way down ... and I am not sure why so many are upset with me for trying to figure out why a person that I know swears he only gets sick when he eats at the same two places and never ever ever anywhere else. He could literally just show up uninvited (small town) and start helping himself to a sushi platter and then laugh and say he'll get sick later, then call the house late in the evening to see how sick we got when we are perfectly fine.

                        He will take someone on a date to the other place and order mexican and call in the morning and tell us he got sick there ... again.

                        We've asked why he keeps going back. He just laughs. But because he is my husbands friend, I cared enough to try to figure out why ...

                        Coming to a food forum made sense because it is probably a food allergy I am not familiar with which was discussed earlier this evening at the bottom of the page ... feeling the need to explain a few words after it'd been said by others ... does not.

                        1. re: cabojenn

                          Well that is just just bizarre. From my own experience, it only took a few times to realize that there was a connection between a VERY upset stomach the next day after eating from a particular joint. I honestly, somehow, didn't even put two and two together the first few times. I also live in NYC, so even though I had a preference for the *taste* of the food at this place, there are plenty of others that I can and do enjoy....so we moved on to some of those other, quite sufficient, options. Giving it more thought, if he is describing it as food poisoning, maybe he is a bit of a drama king. I have had real food poisoning and even though my experience with this one Chinese joint made me glad I had access to my bathroom all day, it is still not the same as real food poisoning. There are many threads on here about being scarred for life, usually because of food poisoning. Real food poisoning can be enough to make one SWEAR OFF something like canteloupe for life. I would chalk up your friend's issues to an additive or excess oil this place may use vs. some sort of food borne bacteria. The Chinese place I spoke of genuinely affected me - it wasn't in my head. I think the general opinion here is that it is so peculiar that he keeps going...that none of us can explain why. Have you asked him? Now I am curious.

                          1. re: Justpaula

                            She mentions that they are from a small town. I can understand that coming from a small town way back. He wants to hang out with the friends and does not have a lot of options. You can have food intolerances, not food poisoning and agree if you have poisoning you will remember it forever. I was told for years that my ailment was because I was stressed, well, I had gallbladder disease and all the little reactions to food finally made sense. It might not be in his head.

                          2. re: cabojenn

                            my bet is that some restaurant sprinkle the food with various preservatives and that he is allergic to the preservatives.

                            there was a wave of this when salad bars first became popular and some of restaurants sprinkled chemicals on all the stuff on the salad bar.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              A lot of restaurants still use "Fruit Fresh" or whatever it is on salad bars. :-/

                              1. re: mcf

                                but all that is is ascorbic acid -- yep, powdered vitamin C -- because it keeps things from oxidizing (going brown).

                                hardly a chemical, and only somewhat a preservative.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  It's actually dextrose, citric acid and silica dioxide. Some salad bars may still use products with sulfites or foods containing them. .

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    Silica dioxide is an anti-caking agent so the stuff actually comes out of the can.
                                    Dextrose is a simple sugar.

                                    Still not preservatives, and still not dangerous chemicals (particularly in the ridiculously small quantities used and ingested)

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      Yes, but it's a dessicant that's also ingested. I know what dextrose is. But sulfites may also be used. Some folks, like my daughter when young, have severe inflammatory tissue response to citric acid, though that doesn't mean the OP's friend did.

                              2. re: westsidegal

                                I remember that stuff. It made my throat get a ticklish cough. Fortunately I have not experienced this in many, many years.

                      2. re: wyogal

                        Because no one on the planet is stupid enough to repeatedly get food poisoning from the same chain of restaurants and then fail to notify health authorities, hire a lawyer and sue the living daylights out of them.

                        Food poisoning can be life-threatening.

                        1. re: redfish62

                          Which is why I asked the question of the OP.

                      3. re: redfish62

                        I agree that it is not food poisoning.

                        The OP plainly states that food is shared from common platters "often we are all eating from the same combo platter (if its sushi or app's)", but it is only the subject of her post who suffers a bad reaction.

                        Please note "often".

                        1. re: FrankJBN

                          I also agree this not food poisoning but can attest that you can share food and have one person get I'll and another not. My last bout of food poisoning was after eating at a sushi restaurant several years ago. My wife and I shared a platter of sushi. Next day I got sicker than I have ever been. Pucking my guts out for a good part of a day and not able to hold my head up while in bed and my wife had no symptoms. Go figure

                      4. It sounds like he has food allergies or is misdiagnosing his malady.

                        1. Any thoughts?

                          Well, yes. I'd advise him to start choosing different restaurants to go to.

                          1. The only way to test would be by take-out of the same dish from different places and not telling him which is which (actually, never telling him you are testing).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Karl S

                              A blind taste-test. Karl, you're so smart. :-)

                            2. I have a friend that gets sick every time he eats at XYZ restaurants (not food poisoning), and I can say with 99% certainty its mental. Same guy that now stays away from every product the news says id bad for you this week.

                              1. there used to be a place here that was famous for their spicy chicken. it was so good, i loved it. and every time i ate it, it went thru me like greased lightning. no one else had any problems, and i didn't get sick. it just spent about 8 minutes in my stomach before it zoomed along and out. i finally stopped eating it. can't imagine anyone who actually gets symptoms of food poisoning going back more than two or three times before they get the message that their body doesn't like eating there.
                                i really miss that chicken place.... LOL

                                1. He could be sensitive to a cleaning product. A number of years ago a place I loved for brunch installed an automatic air freshener in their restrooms. I didn't need to go near their restrooms to get too much exposure - there was enough of the compound floating through out the place. Ended up with a severe migraine every time. Eventually put two and two together and stopped going there.

                                  The "why" is somewhat moot. There is a correlation, It would be a nice gesture of friendship for the group to choose another place to go to.

                                  1. Life got the best of me and I haven't been able to check back but WOW am I both surprised at how many people were thoughtful enough to reply and shocked at the negative ...

                                    I have long thought it was a cleaning agent of some sort and had hoped someone here might have encountered such an issue in the past. I had ruled out a primary food allergy based on what I know he orders/consumes ...

                                    No one forces anyone to eat anywhere. Its a BFF type of my husbands that on a regular basis complains that he gets food poisoning from eating at the same two places. It's a small town; often when eating out he (as well as many others) will just show up and invite himself to join the table and decides to order or partake of whatever we have already ordered even when reminded what usually happens.

                                    I haven't a clue as to why a person would repeatedly eat at a place they are certain is the cause of an upset stomach. Yes, I could have left out the drama king remark ... and used the phrase common sense instead of the other ...

                                    I too have questioned if it really is food poisoning, why this person keeps returning etc.

                                    Thank you to everyone anyways. It is a mystery I will not be able to solve.

                                    1. Maybe some of the food has additives that he is intolerant to. Restaurant chains use lots of salt based additives to give taste, some of them have MSG. Or is he eating more bread at this restaurant or do the foods served have preparations in them that have a high gluten content?As well is he eating higher amounts of cream and dairy when out he might have a dairy intolerance. Food intolerances often start with reactions like he is having, and can start at anytime in life.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                        Ruthie, thank you for your thoughts. The restaurants are owned by the same person so using MSG is something to think about and will inquire however, one is primarily mexican and the other is sushi though they both offer american and salads.

                                        It does not matter what my husbands friend orders though he claims to do better with the chicken salads. One time the enchiladas might get him when he was at location #1 on a date, two weeks later sushi at location #2 gets him and I'd consider a rice allergy but ... wait ... I just looked up rice allergies and wow ... I never though of a rice as a possible culprit! Although ... I can't imagine he ignores the rice at other places but its a place to start. :)

                                        1. re: cabojenn

                                          I would not ignore the fact that he gets ill often. Sometimes we live with a medical problem and are not aware of it. Home food might be very wholesome whereas restaurant food has additives. For example a chili in a restaurant might have a dry preparation base in it whereas at home we might make from scratch and often the dry preparations have gluten in them. And intolerances can start on a minor scale and in later years be more problematic. You mention salad and chicken do not bother him that could be an indication that he can tolerate a food better if it is closer to a natural state. As well restaurant food is high in fat and oil, and if your friend has a gallbladder problem and he may be unaware that he does restaurant food will really agitate his problem.

                                        2. I certainly do have a thought. Once I get food poisoning at a restaurant, I don't go back. Your headline points to a problem ... one your husband's friend could find in the mirror.

                                          1. Off the top of my head, it sounds like he may be allergic to some esoteric item that restaurant uses that no one else is allergic to. this kind of "allergy" is what allergists call "system intollerancs." They can manifest themselves as gastric intolerances, or (like mine) as food induced fibromyalgia. His reaction doesn't have to be to something in the food but could be to things like the dishwashing compound they use, a cleaning solvent. A gazillion possibilities. It would be interesting to see what happens if food from that restaurant is ordered (and pacakaged) as takeout and he eats it without ever setting foot in the place. If he tries that, let us know what happens!

                                            1. My husband is convinced he has a problem with Chinese food. Not "food poisoning" more like "upset tummy". Yup, I realize "Chinese food" is awfully broad and vague, and he can't really narrow it down further for me. Every few years he gives it another try and claims to have the same results. I try to analyze his meal for some common factor but I can't come up with anything rational.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                Chinese food is high in fat, salt sugar, flour and corn starch in the sauces, peppers and spices, MSG, so who knows what can irritate a person with a sensitive stomach.

                                              2. Sounds like he has some other issue, like irritable bowl syndrome. I had bad oysters once and let me tell you it's something you never forget and are never willing to repeat. So I don't think it's actual food poisoning.

                                                1. Just did a search to learn more based on the several comments that 'that's not food poisoning.' First thing I found was an article by two doctors defining it exactly how I've always thought of it. The article states that food poisoning is usually not serious, and can take 30 minutes to several days to develop.

                                                  I'm in a dining group, and one of my fellow members would develop symptoms while still at dinner. I knew that if she did, I could count on getting sick myself the next day.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                    Okay. This sounds possible and that your friend's digestive system
                                                    is quicker to respond to food borne illness than the rest of your group, as you acknowledge you usually know you will turn up sick within a few days too. But this OP has implied that none of the other diners get sick from these two places ever. This is what makes true food poisoning seem unlikely in her friend's case.

                                                    1. re: foiegras

                                                      Yes, but the OPs friend is eating the same foods as the others in the group and no one else is getting sick. Which makes food poisoning highly unlikely in that case.

                                                      1. re: foiegras

                                                        There's a starch used in some foods, mostly puddings, sauces and sometimes things like low-fat or fat-free soft serve that makes me throw up every time I eat it. I have no idea which one it is, and even when I read the label its one of the ones that falls under "modified food starch" so reading labels is useless. Over the years I've gotten to the point i know which types of foods to avoid in restaurants I'm not familiar with (buffets of all types being very prone to use it) and if I'm paying attention sometimes if I inadvertently get something with it in it I can tell with one bite and avoid throwing up. But when I eat it, i'm sick within an hour, sick only until my stomach is empty and then I'm just fine afterwards. I've tried for years to figure out what exact starch it is, but without success but at least now I can usually tell with a single bite if its likely to be in there (consistency thing) and if so stop eating it before I get sick.

                                                        1. re: Ariadanz

                                                          Totally fascinating. My sister is quite allergic to Splenda--breaks out in hives in her mouth. It can be hiding in low-cal offerings as well ...

                                                          I think what this other woman and I are reacting to is the results of poor food handling. At one restaurant I thought it might have been a raw ingredient (contaminated), and we also got sick after eating Malaysian food. I have gotten sick after eating at various Asian restaurants before ... I chalked it up to food handling. I've eaten multiple times at a different Malaysian restaurant (very clean) with no problems.

                                                      2. After two or three times of getting food poisoning, I quit going to those places...At least he's not a quitter.


                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Burghfeeder

                                                          I'd rather be a quitter than a puker.

                                                        2. "...gets sick" is a little vague. I agree with the poster who said that anyone who has experienced TRUE food poisoning does not chuckle off their bad experience and head back to the offending establishment again and again. He's clearly not spending 24 hours in a bathroom perched on a toilet with a trash can in his lap, as anyone who has experienced true food poisoning will attest to. So, what is it? A short bout of diarrhea within 12 hours of eating at this place? I don't think it's a single ingredient or even an allergy to a particular ingredient because I can't even think of ONE ingredient that is shared between a sushi platter and a chicken sandwich. Then again, it might be something as simple as MSG.

                                                          This is my take on the situation: a lot of people OVEREAT when they dine-out and it's much easier to do in places where there are a lot of affordable offerings and lots of things are being shared. I've often given myself an upset stomach when I've dined out with over-ordering overeaters and I'm "joining in the fun". On other visits, I've enjoyed small portions of the same food and no problems. It would only happen when I stuffed myself. I've learned my lesson--and the joy of doggy bags--since.

                                                          1. I do sometimes get a bad reaction from some restaurants. It's not full out food poisoning, just an intense but brief digestive upset, and when I get it, generally no-one else is affected. I figure it's a reaction to something they use is the cooking, but I haven't been able to figure out what, and it doesn't happen often enough to make the effort to track it down or get it tested.

                                                            If it's at the same places, then the simplest solution, as others have said, is to not eat there.

                                                            As an aside on the 'real food poisoning' comments. There are multiple organisms that can cause food born illness, with symptoms ranging from death to the 24 hour stomach flu to mild diarreah, depending on the organism, the victim and the dose. So yes, someone can have 'real' food poisoning that feels fairly mild. Or, if they've got one of the really nasty ones, like e coli, they can end up in the hospital. Onset times for food poisoning can be up to 72 hours after ingesting the food, too, so for many bugs it's hard to tell exactly where you got it, and it likely wasn't the last meal you ate.

                                                            1. I like so many others here cant comprehend what one would continually subject themselves to such a situation. Is the food really that good?

                                                              1. My sister used to get violently ill with presumed food poisoning for years, and finally discovered it was a not well known allergic reaction that occurs when having shellfish with alchohol but not without alcohol. A SIL didn't know she had this allergy to shrimp until she had it with champagne at her wedding cocktail hour and had to head to the ER in her gown for treatment.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                  Wow ... what a way to mark the occasion. I bet she could post in the Food scars thread.

                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                    It sure was a long cocktail hour. She and the groom, a medical resident, ended up in the ER at the hospital where both worked, she as a nurse, so everyone headed down to see her in her gown, and her face was blotchy throughout.

                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                      Years ago I was getting adventurous ( I laugh now when I say that) and trying some oysters for the first time..lol... well I'll tell you... through the eye of a needle at 40 paces... it was a chain restaurant that was quite popular. I never even wanted to think about oysters let along try them again. Until about 5 years later... same chain...different town (about 100 miles) and sure enough the same thing again...slow learner huh... I can usually eat pretty much anything.. except bad oysters. Prairie oysters now that's different..lol!

                                                                2. After reading a number of replies, I suddenly wondered if anyone has SEEN him sick, or has your friend just been letting people know by phone calls that he ismill?

                                                                  1. I had genuine food poisoning once and it was so awful that nothing in the world could ever make me return to that restaurant again. Two days of misery. But, I also have food allergies and perhaps that is what your friend has as well. The allergy can make you feel ill, but you may not really know what it is that is causing you to feel ill right away.