Food poisoning is twice as common as previously thought, the Food Standards Agency has revealed as it warns lettuce is the most common culprit turning diner green.
Around 2.4 million cases of food poisoning are occurring every year - more than double the estimate in 2009, according to the Food Standards Agency.
It says that "innovative new research" has provided a better estimate of how many cases of infectious intestinal diseases (IID) are caused by food.
This new figure is more than double the estimate in 2009, where cases of food borne illness were thought to be at approximately one million.
Despite the rise in numbers, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) says this does not represent an increase in total IID or any new risk to public health.
The agency, responsible for protecting public health in relation to food, estimates that around 380,000 cases of norovirus linked to food occur in the UK every year.
This is just over 12 per cent of all three million norovirus cases annually, the agency said, following a previous estimate in 2009 at 73,000 (2.5 per cent).
Norovirus, a type of IID commonly known as the winter vomiting bug, causes diarrhoea and vomiting.
New studies from the FSA reveal that eating out accounts for 37 per cent of all food borne norovirus cases, while takeaways account for 26 per cent.
It also found that open-headed lettuce accounts for 30 per cent of all cases, while raspberries on retail is 4 per cent and oysters at 3 per cent.
Professor Guy Poppy, chief scientific adviser to the FSA, said: "Instead this research reinforces the need for the highest standards of good personal and food hygiene practices in catering establishments and at home to avoid infection."
Source: The Telegraph