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The Food Poisoning Incident

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"It's food poisoning. I have it too. I did not sleep for one second last night, and I cracked the bottom of the toilet bowl."
Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation

Someone eats bad food and doesn't know it. The street vendor's meat was old. The fridge failed and the egg salad sandwiches went off. The cook used dirty utensils. Or sometimes, they just think they ate bad food and panic. Occasionally, are horrified that they fed their family bad food. Once in a while, it will be seemingly Ripped from the Headlines (the All in the Family example came not long after a botulism scare on the east coast). If you have a Lethal Chef in your cast, count on at least one scene like this to happen during the course of the work.

May be considered a Sub-Trope to Amusing Injuries.

Compare to Mushroom Samba.

May overlap with Last Day to Live. May lead to a Vomit Chain Reaction, as with the 6teen example. For media that tries to go the extra-gross route, such as in Bridesmaids, it may also lead to massive Potty Failure or Vomit Indiscretion Shot. In less gross works, it might lead to a Potty Emergency or a Vomit Discretion Shot.

Often Played for Laughs, although it can be Played for Drama if the outbreak ends up killing people.

It is suggested that this may be because the symptoms are usually of the distressing-cum-embarrassing sort (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting), and in part because of anxiety over E. coli and the like. Either way, it's a pointed reminder of how much we rely upon our bodies. "For surely laughter masks a nervous soul."

Some shows seem to use this trope especially. It has been observed that The Simpsons use it to shift the Character Focus of the episode by eliminating not needed characters. Examples: the oysters eliminated everyone leaving only Bart & Skinner, on whom the episode was focused. The vegetables make the whole family sick, so Lisa started her singing career.

Compare Water Source Tampering, Tampering with Food and Drink and Way Past the Expiration Date which all can lead up to this trope.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The episode "Mushroom Samba" of Cowboy Bebop has Faye eat a box of emergency rations that spoilt "A year ago". Lucky for her she ends up with just stomach cramps.
  • Crayon Shinchan has a few:
    • An episode has Shin-chan's parents, Hiroshi and Misae, falling sick after eating leftover caviar. They need to spend a night at their local hospital, leaving Shin-chan at a neighbour's place (despite insisting he wants to tag along). Being Shin-chan, he stowed away on the hospital ambulance anyways.
    • A later episode has Shin-chan and friends getting lost during a camping trip. After spending a night in a cave, looking for food the next morning, they decide to collect and barbecue some wild mushrooms for breakfast and use the smoke signals from the leftover barbecue to get help. Turns out those wild shrooms are, indeed, poisonous, but it's non-fatal, with Shin-chan and friends going Laughing Mad when they're rescued.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: After the party kills a kraken, they find its flesh inedible. Fortunately, the kraken was host to some eel-like parasites, which get served up like kabayaki and eaten instead. Then it turns out Laios, inspired by Marcille stating that some types of seafood are prepared raw, had snuck a bite of some of the raw parasite before it was grilled, and ended up ingesting a parasite of the parasite. He spends the rest of the night curled up and suffering agonizing stomach cramps, an experience that makes him swear off raw seafood for life.
  • Dragon Ball has Goku and Krillin competing in a training exercise involving bringing back a marked rock thrown by Master Roshi. Krillin wins by tricking Goku into chasing a fake rock, but Goku has the last laugh as everyone but him winds up being laid up for three days with food poisoning from badly prepared fugu courtesy of Lunch.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, during their training under Izumi, Ed and Al come across some wild mushrooms and soon regret eating them. Later on, we see them figuring out how to not have that happen again, providing the Trope Image (see above).
  • Happened before the beginning of Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro in a neighborhood festival when Haruka, Yako's mom unknowingly sent 95% of the people who ate her pork soup into hospital. Never mind the fact that they somehow missed that the color of said soup was silver.
  • In an early episode of Naruto, Naruto disguises himself as Sasuke in order to trick Sakura but keeps having to run to the bathroom with diarrhea. At the end of the episode Hiruzen is showing Kakashi Naruto's house and Kakashi notices that a carton of milk Naruto had been drinking was way past its expiration day.
  • One Piece: After days of starving in the Whole Cake Island arc, when the crew finally manages to catch a giant fish, Luffy digs right in before he can learn from Chopper that the fish's skin is extremely poisonous. Nami manages to cook it into something edible, but Luffy is soon left on the floor in agony. It's at first Played for Laughs as Luffy often puts himself in situations like that due to being an Idiot Hero, yet comes out no worse for the wear later. However, it's soon afterwards Played for Drama when the crew realizes that Luffy's condition is becoming extremely serious. Fortunately, they meet someone who manages to Suck Out the Poison, curing Luffy.
  • In Patlabor this is revealed to be the cause of the mysterious disappearance of several members of the team. The mystery starts when some workers go to a ramen stand to bring some takeout to the office, but never come back. A search party goes looking for them but also fails to reappear. This is repeated until the building is empty. Turns out each group decides to eat something at the stand before coming back and immediately becomes ill until the whole team and background characters are writhing on the floor behind the stand in agony. It is later reavealed that an employee of the ramen shop has been feeding stray dogs the leftover ramen and then serving the customers in those same bowls without washing them.
  • In episode 37 of Ranma ½, Akane attempts to impress Ranma by baking cookies for him. Due to her being a Lethal Chef those cookies turn out terrible both in looks and taste. Ranma still ends up eating the cookies at the end of the episode to comfort Akane about her hurt feelings, but soon regrets it. He spends the rest of the evening curled up in his futon, groaning in pain. Even Genma is surprised about his poor state since Ranma is known to have an iron stomach.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, a side story focuses on the romantic misadventures of Misato Gori. In order to win the affections of her secret crush, she repeatedly cooks up batches of.....sweets. Burnt, misshapen horrors that no one in their right mind would mistake for donuts or cookies. Over the course of the story, she gives food poisoning to multiple Branches of the CCG, resulting in a company-wide message advising people to be careful because of recent bouts of wide-spread illness. Misato remains clueless of her actions.

    Comic Books 
  • A Running Gag in Asterix is the quality (Or lack thereof) of the fish sold by fish-monger Unhygenix, and the fights that start when discussing it. In Asterix and the Great Crossing, Vitalstatistix complains that the fish have made his shield-bearers too sick to carry him. We learn shortly after that instead of doing his own fishing, Unhygenix gets his fish from sellers in Lutentia because they're better quality—even though the best quality fish will lose their freshness during a long trip from the city to the village.
  • In Bone, what got the Bone Cousins chased out of Boneville was that at Phoney's disastrous campaign picnic, he served prune tarts he got from a discount prune dealer. After the giant Phoney-baloon went amok, the "Bad prunes kicked in". As Smiley later states, they gave the entire town a case of the "Fast-Track Sallies", though Fone Bone implies that this was just The Last Straw after many of Phoney's Noodle Incidents.
  • In Father Christmas Goes on Holiday, Father Christmas eats at a restaurant, then has a nightmare about the food and wakes up nauseous and going to the bathroom a lot.
  • In one Green Lantern story, Hal Jordan found his power ring going haywire and refusing to respond to his commands. He eventually discovers this was due to food poisoning from eating tainted mushrooms (with those who had consumed them being warned 'not to operate heavy machinery').
  • A bizarre Played for Drama example occurs in Gilbert Hernandez's graphic novel Julio's Day (first serialized in Love and Rockets). Julio's father bites into a bean taco that, although wrapped, has become contaminated with "blueworms" in a mudslide. He immediately bleeds profusely from the eyes and staggers around in delirium, until an eccentric elderly couple saves his life with a folk remedy. The father later has a relapse of the food poisoning and dies from the same symptoms; worse yet, he's inadvertently passed the incurable infection to Julio's brother.

    Comic Strips 
  • One Close to Home strip features a bunch of queasy people in the ER, with a nurse saying, "Those of you who ate the chicken at the Fowler-Doherty wedding can come with me. And we'd appreciate it if you three bridesmaids would stop chanting 'Kill the caterer!'".
  • One arc in Funky Winkerbean involved a wedding caterer preparing food with a questionable sauce, forcing the wedding-goers to be sent to the hospital. Vows were exchanged in a hospital room.

    Fan Works 
  • Emergency!:
    • Johnny's takeout poisons the firemen in "Leave No Stomach Unchurned''. Chet gets revenge by slipping him fluid extract of ipecac, but it's more potent than syrup of ipecac and makes John very sick.
    • In Good Gravy, Chet gets everyone, including himself, sick when he uses mushrooms from his neighbor's yard in the Thanksgiving gravy.
  • The Loud House:
    • In Lucy's Secret Lucy tells a lie that Haiku and her sister had food poisoning and threw up on the carpet.
    • Invoked in Anger Management, when Lynn deliberately gives herself food poisoning by making a questionable sandwich and eating it so she can stink up the bathroom.
    • Defied in Party of None when Maria forbids Carl from participating in the pepper-eating contest lest he get food poisoning.
    • Defied again in Nicely Done when Lincoln turns down the PB&J sandwich with cinnamon, lest he end up needing to take "several trips to the bathroom" afterwards.
    • In Bake a Load Off, Lucy gets food poisoning after eating a burnt brownie.
  • Rugrats:
    • In No and Uh-Huh, Tommy says, "No" for the first time when refusing food due to "food poisons".
    • In The New Neighbour, Tommy has the poops and is throwing up. Kira wonders if it's food poisoning from the food she was giving him, but Didi suspects that he caught a virus from Dil, who had been showing similar symptoms.
    • Subverted in Prerugrats, where Stu and Didi both get cramps after eating tacos and suspect the tacos were bad, but actually Stu had appendicitis and Didi was in labour.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: In Enterprise Enquirer, Hoshi Sato gets food poisoning from eating a contaminated peach and Trip and Travis pretend she has Morning Sickness instead. Luckily it only causes problems in her upper digestive tract so no bathroom-related jokes, but unluckily it makes her very sleepy.
  • The Worst Witch: Faked in PMS Potions, where the girls are sneaking around and pretend they were in the bathroom because they have food poisoning from the cheese the cook put on pizza.
  • In this unnamed Happy Days fanfiction, everyone gets food poisoning after eating some badly-cooked sauce, though luckily, the worst that happens is they get a little nauseous. Marion was worried that Laverne & Shirley had the runs, though they actually just walked off to tell off the people who cooked the sauce.
  • Pokémon: In The Pokémon Squad episode "Ash! Eats! Waffles!", Ash gets severe food poisoning and nearly dies after eating frozen waffles that expired the day before. The fact that he ate the toaster along with it may have had something to do with the severity.
  • In-Tents-ly Sick: Totobory gets food poisoning due to an overcooked fish.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Airplane!. Anyone who had fish for their in-flight dinner got a life-threatening case of food poisoning. Guess what the entire flight crew had.
  • In Bridesmaids there's a really gross food poisoning scene, although the protagonist claims it's a virus, as she's the one who suggested the restaurant.
  • Discussed in Enchanted when Nathaniel tries to convince Prince Edward that Pip is delirious from having "eaten some bad nuts or something".
  • Living in Oblivion: In one of the sequences, the chief cinematographer is made violently ill from spoiled milk left out on the craft service table.
  • Discussed in Madeline, when Madeline wakes up at night crying and complaining of a sore tummy. The other girls worry that it's food poisoning, since they all ate the same thing. It turns out to be appendicitis.
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life ends with a dinner party where this happens to all the guests; a throw-away gag has it that one person who was affected didn't even eat the tainted item.
  • Please Give: It remains ambiguous if the elderly woman dies at the end from drinking tainted juice
  • SleeperWoody Allen is cryogenically frozen and revived 200 years later as a fugitive. He pleads that he never did anything wrong, that he was just an owner of a health food store—"occasionally a customer got botulism, but that was very rare!"
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: A conversation between Scotty and Kirk at the beginning of the film implies this.
    Scotty: Oh, and Captain? I replaced the Klingon food packs, they were giving me a sour stomach.
  • In Sunday School Musical, a massive food poisoning incident involving egg salad takes out the third choir in competition to go to State, meaning that Crossroads gets their chance despite being pretty lousy.
  • In War Room, a case of food poisoning is what keeps Tony from consummating his date with a woman from church.
  • In Yogi Bear, Booboo's stomach rumbles and he says it's due to "problems with potato salad".
  • Zero Hour! (1957): Anyone who had fish for their in-flight dinner got a life-threatening case of food poisoning. Guess what the entire flight crew had.
  • Zombieland has a worldwide, apocalyptic example: the zombie apocalypse started because of a tainted burger, and the first symptom of transformation is uncontrollable vomiting.

  • Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree has her father-in-law's housewarming party disrupted by eleventh-hour food poisoning at the caterer's firm; the narrator enlists help from the community to come up with the food.
  • A Billion for Boris: in this sequel to Freaky Friday, the reveal that the kid brother is in possession of a TV that sees 24 hours into the future is based on his knowing that a certain brand of soup has been recalled before anyone else does.
  • In Stephen Manes' Chicken Trek Oscar and his inventor cousin are competing in a coast-to-coast chicken-eating contest. They and fellow competitor Madame Gulbenkian stop at a supposedly-competing restaurant which offers them some dubious-looking (and smelling) chicken. After Madame Gulbenkian wolfs hers down and then collapses while clutching her stomach, it's revealed that the restaurant lost its franchise for good reason and that trips to the emergency room by customers happen "all the time".
  • Clarice Bean: In "Utterly Me", Mr. Tuesday pretends that he has food poisoning so he can go out of work to go to his daughter Clarice's school production. Unfortunately, her classmates Noah and Suzy feed him bad sushi, which actually gives him food poisoning.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
    • In "Hard Luck", Greg mentions having bought a lucky rabbit's foot on a trip once, which he immediately got rid of after suffering food poisoning (and spraining his ankle).
    • In "Old School", Greg's classmate Melinda gets food poisoning after eating stew that was made of leftovers.
  • The Devil is a Part-Timer!: After being given a large box of packaged noodles, Ashiya insist that they must all be eaten before he'll buy any more food even though the box has lasted them a long enough time that they're obviously expired. This causes him to wind up with a debilitating case of food poisoning, and, true to his penny-pinching nature, he refuses to go see a doctor or even take some over-the-counter stomache medication and instead spends the day stuck in the bathroom. Maou and Hanzo avoid the problem due to having refused to eat the noodles despite Ashiya's insistence.
  • Played for Drama in The Fifth Season when Alabaster suffers botulism poisoning and only survives by hijacking Essun's Wrong Context Magic to purge his system. It's strongly implied to have been either Disproportionate Retribution from a minor Obstructive Bureaucrat whom he'd called out for her rudeness, or an assassination attempt by a local Mage Killer.
  • Jaine Austen Mysteries: What ends up becoming the motive for Graham murdering Scotty Parker in Death of a Neighborhood Scrooge. Part of Scotty's awfulness was tipping his mailman, Graham, with junk, like used socks and the free toothbrushes from his dentist. The one that really screwed things over was a batch of stale cherry chocolates. When Graham ate them the night before an audition, he ended up with food poisoning. Figuring the worst of the poisoning was over, Graham went to his audition, only to end up vomiting on an A-list director's shoes. Someone recording this on their phone uploaded it, the clip went viral, and Graham's acting career was dead in the water.
  • Like Water for Chocolate plays it for both drama and comedy when, as Tita is baking her sister's wedding cake, she's so distraught about said sister marrying the love of Tita's life that her tears fall on the batter and poison the cake. As a result, everyone at the reception gets violently ill. The Film of the Book tones the Nausea Fuel down, as the original even describes how the entire wedding dress ends up bathed in sick, as a Vomit Chain Reaction ensues.
  • When recounting the various childhood accidents that could have killed him in his Mémoires, General Thiébault off-handedly mentions that a cook accidentally poisoned him and his family by confusing hemlock and fennel. Why she had hemlock in the first place, he never explains.
  • Middle School: In the fourth book, Rafe (along with everyone else at Camp Wannamorra) suffers a horrible case of food poisoning after one of the campers tampers with the food at a party. One illustration spanning two pages shows vomit pouring out all of the bathroom windows and animals on the trees trying to avoid it.
  • In Monsters Eat Whiny Children, one monster vetoes the idea of Indian food because the last time she'd eaten it, it "hadn't agreed with her".
  • The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks: In book 1, Stanley eats Michael's acorn collection and a library book (retconned into a plastic toy race car in future books) and gets a little sick. In book 2, Fluffy gets slightly ill from eating a dirty sock, and later accidentally eats a sock with a tiny musical microchip and battery and is horribly poisoned. Fortunately, both plants survive these events (in the second case because Dr. Sparks performs surgery on Fluffy to remove the microchip from the vine that had sucked it in).
  • Roys Bedoys:
    • In “Don’t Be Greedy, Roys Bedoys!”, Roys gets food poisoning after eating too much at a buffet.
    • In “Stop Wasting Money, Roys Bedoys!”, Roys claims he needs to “go home and poop” after eating three ice cream sandwiches.
  • In the Sweet Valley High book "Crash Landing", Jessica takes cooking classes and decides to show off her newfound skills by cooking her family dinner. Unfortunately, she uses bad mussels and makes everyone ill, which they rather cruelly tease her about for several weeks afterwards, completely oblivious to how hurtful they're being.
  • Togetherly Long: Happens to Von Mal when he has to spend a day surviving in the woods on his own. He eats some wild mushrooms for dinner and wakes up the next morning in a cold sweat, with blurry vision, a headache, aches and pains over his whole body and nasuea.
  • In Toms Midnight Garden, Tom eats shrimp pastries, and while they don't give him any stomach-related symptoms, they do give him insomnia.
  • In the Warrior Cats Super Edition Bluestar's Prophecy, Bluefur, Rosepaw and Sweetpaw share a mouse which ends up getting them all sick. Sweetpaw ends up dying as a result.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Pete & Pete: Little Pete pretends to get food poisoning from spoiled tapioca so he can play hooky.
  • All in the Family: Archie may or may not have eaten toxic mushrooms after a recall due to botulism. He ends up going to the ER for a painful anti-toxin injection. Afterwards, Edith realizes that they weren't the recalled brand to begin with.
  • Annika (2021): In episode 2x5, Michael attempts to keep investigating the Body of the Week despite suffering food poisoning brought one by eating his eldest daughter's home economics project.
  • In the The Big Bang Theory episode "The Celebration Reverberation", Sheldon makes an authentic pioneer meal for Amy's birthday, based on her love of Little House on the Prairie. They spend much of the rest of the episode throwing up, though by the end of the episode they've both recovered much enough to attend to Howard and Bernadette's house party and play in the bouncy house without any ill effects.
  • The entire Orlando Breakers team on Coach comes down with food poisoning, just before their game with the Buffalo Bills. Luther obtained free Buffalo chicken wings from "Buffalo Billy's" when the team was visiting. Hayden has to resort to pulling a team from the stands just to satisfy contractual obligations. (The Breakers were slaughtered.) He suspects the food was deliberately poisoned but when Luther asks Buffalo Billy, Billy gives an ambivalent "no."
  • In Emergency!, a guy got himself and his neighbors sick from undercooked bear meat in one episode, and another, "Botulism", is a sort of restaurant outbreak.
  • On Everwood, Bright and Hannah end up with a nasty case of it after eating poorly-stored fish Hannah made for dinner. They break out in rashes, develop high fevers, and spend half the night throwing up.
  • In the Fawlty Towers episode "Basil the Rat", one of the catastrophes Basil Fawlty must deal with is the possibility that he has just served the health inspector a poisoned veal cutlet.
  • The George Lopez Show: Mentioned in "The Show Dyslexic".
    George: And I never gave [Max] anything except this fine head of hair! [beat] And salmonella, the one time I tried to make my own chicken fingers.
  • Happy Days: Chachi's mother has Howard & Marian Cunningham over for dinner, and inadvertently includes an ingredient in her pasta sauce that Marian is allergic to. Marian spends the rest of the evening in the bathroom.
  • On the season 6 finale of How I Met Your Mother, Lily gets sick after eating soup, and Marshall, who had eaten the same soup, prepares for the inevitable effects to kick in, just as he's interviewing for his dream job. In the end nothing happens to Marshall, and it turns out it wasn't the soup that made Lily sick; she was pregnant.
  • Is It Legal?: In “Infatuation”, Darren tries to sue Mr.Bappy after allegedly receiving food poisoning from one of their products. It is eventually revealed that he was actually poisoned by eating out of date (by a year) chicken nuggets.
  • Julie and the Phantoms: Luke, Alex and Reggie (the titular Phantoms) died in 1995 after eating some questionable hotdogs from a street vendor selling food out of the engine of his car. The fourth member of their band was a vegetarian that skipped the meal and avoided dying. Alex's Love Interest, Willie, gives him the nickname "Hotdog" on learning this fact.
  • In Kim's Convenience, Mr. Kim eats expired ravioli to prove to his daughter Janet that it's okay to eat. He ends up needing to go to the toilet for the majority of the day and thinks it's the ravioli. Janet gloats at first but also finds herself doing the same thing later. They figure out it's because of Mrs. Kim's galbijjim which they both ate, and they quickly call her to throw it out at a church event she's helping out at so no one else gets sick. She does throw it out and warn everyone, but not before her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Mrs. Park takes a bite.
  • On Law & Order: Criminal Intent a food critic got food poisoning after eating at a new restaurant. The critic is then brutally beaten and the cops initially suspect that the chef who owns the restaurant tried to kill the critic before her review could ruin his restaurant. Goren quickly realizes that the chef is being framed and his ingredients were sabotaged in order to ruin his business.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Francis and his Military School classmates head to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. On the way there, Francis eats some bad sushi from a truck stop and gets so sick he has to miss out on all the fun. At one point his friends convince him to rally and head out to party. Francis makes it as far as the door to the hotel room before throwing up and being carried back to bed.
  • Manhattan Love Story had an episode where both its leads were planning on having sex together for the first time following a meal. Unfortunately, they went to a second-rate oyster bar and both came down with severe food poisoning. However, they bonded more over this than they would've if they simply had sex.
  • Has happened to Bear Grylls on Man vs. Wild at least once. Not surprising, given all the dodgy stuff he eats.
  • A couple from M*A*S*H: In "The Yalu Brick Road", most of the camp gets salmonella from some bad Thanksgiving turkeys that Klinger acquired. There is also an episode where Charles and Margaret eat a canned bird (pheasant?) and get ill.
  • One episode of Maybe Its Me involved the notoriously-frugal mother getting hired to run the school's kitchen. After the entire school except her own kids comes down with food poisoning, it's revealed that she was using expired ingredients because they were cheaper. Her kids have Acquired Poison Immunity because she's been doing the same thing at home for years.
  • While at a hotel buffet, Mr. Bean scarfed down a huge plate of oysters before finding out too late that they had gone bad. Cut to the next scene where Mr. Bean is asleep with a puke bucket by his bed and dozens of bottles of medicine on his nightstand. He then has an Acid Reflux Nightmare where the oysters are all rancid and an evil version of a guy Mr. Bean was competing with tried to force him to eat them.
  • In an episode of Murder, She Wrote, someone dies and some other people become ill after eating jelly at a restaurant in Cabot Cove. However, the murderer swapped out the restaurant's jelly for the poisoned one to kill a specific target and the only reason there was another victim was because they ate jelly from the contaminated container.
  • In The Nanny episode "Close Shave", C.C. Babcock is attending a cooking class and gets Maxwell Sheffield to try some of her cooking. He reluctantly does so and ends up going to the hospital with food poisoning. Due to the food poison, he needs an appendectomy, and in preparation for surgery, the surgeon asks Fran Fine, disguised as a candy striper, to shave Maxwell...
  • Our Miss Brooks: Mrs. Davis is often a Cordon Bleugh Chef (try her Limburger omelet), but once she goes straight into Lethal Chef territory. "Pensacola Popovers", in the episode of the same name, are guaranteed to give man or beast gastric distress. Walter Denton tries one and is sick as a dog. Principal Osgood Conklin tries one, and goes home sick within a half an hour. Mr. Boynton's pet frog Mcdougall licks one, and is reduced to hopping around on his head in a frenzy.
    • Miss Brooks gives a few to Love Interest Mr. Boynton, in a plot to make him sick so she can nurse him back to health. Alas, Mr. Boynton's cast-iron stomach makes him immune. For awhile, at least. Mr. Boynton calls Miss Brooks as he needs someone to nurse... his pet frog McDougall. Eventually, the popovers have their effect, and Mr. Boynton faints away at the Biology Club luncheon and is taken to the hospital.
      Miss Brooks: Well, what do you know? A delayed popover!
  • Parks and Recreation: The episode "Ann's Decision" has Ben, Chris and even the usually Nigh-Invulnerable Ron (who provides the page quote) suffering from a severe case of food poisoning brought on by bad mini-calzones. All three are in varying degrees of wanting to die when Tom (who didn't eat the calzones) finds them, after the three call him in extreme concern.
    Chris: Has anybody talked to Tom? I can't even imagine what that tiny little man must be feeling like...
    Ron: I have voided more than Tom's body weight in the last twelve hours alone. He might have just disappeared off the Earth.
  • The mid-70s syndicated kids show Salty had an episode where they had to find someone who had eaten rancid food and didn't know it.
  • In one of the many instances of the show subtly playing on its name Schitt's Creek has an episode where David and Stevie pretend to be a honeymoon couple to get an upgraded room and free booze at a resort, only to suffer gastrointestinal issues from the Lovers Curry they are served at dinner. The friends end up with a story they can only tell each other.
  • The entire Buffalo Bills starting offense (and all but one back-up quarterback) catching a severe case is the main premise of the TNT movie Second String.
  • Seinfeld: Jerry's girlfriend's mother gets sick when a silica pack gets into the salsa placed out at Putamayo. By a typical turn of events, Jerry's number is on her speed dial under "Poison Control".
    Jerry: Poison control? That's even better than #1!...Hello?
    • In another episode, Kramer downs a carton of milk, which Jerry notices is past the expiration date. Cue Kramer vomiting up on George's girlfriend Susan.
  • In an episode of Sex and the City ("The Ick Factor"), Charlotte and Harry go out for a romantic dinner, but they both end up sick shortly thereafter. Rather than being played for laughs, the incident is really sweet, as it shows the two of them accepting and comforting each other in their distress.
  • All the adults except Hermes and Ms Selby eat some bad oysters in the "Follow The Leader" episode of Ship to Shore and the children are left in charge of the communications base while they puke their guts out.
  • In the Starsky & Hutch episode "The Game," Hutch gets botulism from a can of soup. By the time Starsky realizes what has happened, Hutch has gone into hiding for the weekend as part of an elaborate hide-and-seek game. Starsky frantically searches for him and finally finds him just as he is starting to fall seriously ill.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In one episode, Rom claims that he once ate some bacon which didn't agree with him. Though it's implied that it was simply because of incompatibility between human foods and Ferengi digestive systems rather than the bacon itself being bad.
    • Another episode has a drink poisoning incident— Morn gets sick after drinking some alien alcohol that the stingy bartender Quark gave away free because it was expired.
  • In an early Star Trek: Enterprise episode, T'Pol claims she once ate a human dish that disagreed with her, which put her off human food in general.
  • The Stockard Channing Show: Susan's boss at the Consumer Affairs local tv show she works on gets ptomaine poisoning and thinks it's because of a bad fallafel he gets from a fast food joint. It turns out it's from a high priced fine dining restaurant.
  • The "Groundhog Day" Loop episode of Supernatural has one of Dean's deaths coming from eating a bad taco.
  • In the Thunderbirds episode "Path of Destruction", the plots get kicked off because the crewmen of a forest clearing vehicle eat bad food while in South America... leading to the vehicle going off course through a village and threatening a dam.
  • What's Happening!! Rerun thinks he has gotten food poisoning from bad beef at Rob's. Dee explains later that it is actually appendicitis, and that Rerun had to get surgery

  • In the children's song "Found a Peanut", the singer finds a peanut, observes it's rotten, eats it anyway, and then gets so sick he requires penicillin and surgery. It doesn't work, so he dies and goes to Heaven. They reject him so he goes "the other way"... but they don't want him either... then it turns out to be All Just a Dream.
  • On track 4 of Super Ghostbusters, "Ghost-Boster", the singer gets food poisoning. That makes him angry. He then calls the Ghostbusters as he believes it's caused by McDonald's putting a ghost in the burger.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In the Book of Exodus, the Israelites complained that all they've had to eat lately is manna. God decrees that they'll get the meat they desire, but it will come out their nostrils, and they'll get sick of it, as punishment for their whining and insolence. They find quail, just waiting for them, and (just as God had said) everyone who ate the quail meat got sick. (It isn't known if it was actually a Mystical Plague, or just an account of run-of-the-mill food poisoning, which would have happened very easily in a camp full of people, in a hot desert climate easily conducive to food spoilage, with no refrigeration and very limited alternative means of food preservation, no antibiotics, no modern cooking practices, no modern sanitation practices, and no germ theory. Or an account of coturnism.)

  • In Nunsense, Sister Julia accidentally killed fifty-two other nuns with her tainted vichyssoise soup, which sets up the entire plot for the show.

  • Well There's Your Problem did an episode on the 1975 Japan Airlines food poisoning incident, where 197 passengers were (non-fatally) poisoned by a Staphylococcus aureus outbreak from food served during the last leg of the journey. Luckily for all involved, neither of the pilots were affected, but the plane had to be opened by a hazmat team and several of the passengers evacuated on stretchers. While witness statements were (understandably) rare, the hosts took several asides to talk about the likely effects of having nearly two hundred people in an enclosed space suffering from evacuations on both ends for almost an hour, while using Hieronymus Bosch paintings as visual aides.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • One WWE Smackdown skit in 2004 revolved around Eddie Guerrero giving The Big Show a tainted Burrito and then the lucky people in the audience got to watch Big Show plead for toilet paper while a fairly nasty fart recording was played.

    Video Games 
  • In Cake Mania 4: Main Street Jill, who's heavily implied to be pregnant, asks Tiny to serve her fugu. When she goes in for some tests later on, he thinks it was because of the fugu and rushes to the hospital.
  • Talking to Isabela near the docks in Dragon Age II results in her warning you never to eat the clams - she did and was sick for a whole week. Hawke can also remark upon being offered a drink by Merrill that s/he wouldn't drink the water. (Considering the technological era of the setting, and that cholera is mentioned to be a problem, that's a wise decision. Though Merrill does boil it. Several times. It wouldn't stop twitching.)
  • In Faria, the inhabitants of Ehdo get sick from feasting on poisoned caviar, and the player has to do a Fetch Quest to find the cure for them. This was all deliberately arranged by the Big Bad.
  • Happens in Fire Emblem: Awakening during Kjelle's C support with any of her fathers; she made breakfast for the entire army and they wound up sick to their stomachs.
  • In Fruit Mystery, your character is either very stupid or completely insane and goes to a zoo and feeds human foods to the animals, often with darkly humorous results.
  • In Honey, I Joined a Cult, food poisoning is the most common "injury" afflicting your cultists, probably two to three every day, using basic sinks to poorly wash hands after using the toilet—and it's much worse with the starting trough.
  • Minecraft: Eating rotten flesh gives you food poisoning, but oddly enough, the only symptom is that you get really hungry.
  • One Nancy Drew game (Danger on Deception Island) has a "puzzle" in which Nancy offers to make Kate a sandwich. And giving bad ingredients (Raw meat, baking soda, jellyfish, Mayonnaise that was 10 years old, bad bread) will result in a Non-Standard Game Over wherein Kate gets food poisoning. Additionally, the player can make Nancy eat the sandwich herself for another Non-Standard Game Over for rather hilarious results.
  • Nethack has several cases.
    • Old corpses become tainted. Eating them gives you food poisoning, which is lethal unless you have some way to heal it.
    • Rotten eggs cause you to vomit. Interestingly, this can cure food poisoning, because you vomit out the tainted food.
    • Other rotten food items, which happen randomly, have some other side effects, such as confusion or passing out for some time.
  • Rimworld: Food poisoning is one of the more insidious threats you'll face out in the Rim. It has a chance to occur every time a colonist eats raw ingredients, or meals cooked in a filthy kitchen or by an unskilled cook, and will put colonists in a lot of pain that can bring them to the ground if they've got any other painful injury, and even without that will slow them down and harm their skills until it's passed. Plus it makes them vomit absolutely everywhere, including the aforementioned kitchen, leading to self-perpetuating poisoning if you don't take steps. Nutrient Paste has a place in many colonies precisely because it never causes poisoning.
  • All games in The Sims series include food poisoning to some extent:
    • The Sims: With the Vacation expansion, having a Sim eat at a buffet table with low Hygiene will cause them to contract Montezuma's Revenge (also known as "Poopy Pants" in the game's code), which constantly drains their Bladder motive. The disease is not fatal and will go away after a while.
    • The Sims 2: There's a 10% chance a Sim eating burned food, spoiled food or out of a garbage can will contract food poisoning, which will make them constantly run to the bathroom to vomit and can be potentially fatal.
    • The Sims 3: Sims can get the "Nausea" moodlet from eating burned food, eating spoiled food, eating meat (if they have the "Vegetarian" trait), drinking plasma (if they're not a vampire) or after participating in an hot dog eating contest. Late Night introduces the "Food Poisoning" moodlet, but oddly enough, it only appears if a Sim eats from a food truck (15% chance, 30% if they have the "Snob" trait).
    • The Sims 4: The "Nausea" moodlet returns; it can be obtained by a Sim eating spoiled food or by a Vegetarian Sim eating meat. In Dine Out, Sims can sometimes get food poisoning after eating at a restaurant; they can call the restaurant to complain and potentially get monetary compensation.
  • One minor quest in Eastshade involves tracking down and warning four recent customers of Tam, a grocer who'd accidentally sold toxic tubers in place of zucchini. Only one customer is found too late, already suffering from terrible discomfort.
  • You can invoke this trope in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater by having Snake eat rotten or poisonous food, which is cured through medicine or forcefully making Snake throw up to get the offending food out of his system.
  • Similar to the Metal Gear example above, you can also invoke this in Green Hell by eating rotten or poisonous food, which will heal over time (if mild) or can be cured by certain foods.
  • In one RuneScape quest you have to poison a bunch of PlagueDoctors by putting a rotten apple into their soup. It later turns out that the plague they are supposedly fighting is a hoax and they have been doing the same thing to the population of the city so that they can take the people as slaves under the guise of taking them for medical treatment for the plague and then claim that they died when they don't come back.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Daughter for Dessert, Moe Mortelli has a stint in the bathroom after the protagonist secretly spreads raw chicken grease on his toast so he can break into the detective's office.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comic 
  • In The Order of the Stick, when Durkon got food poisoning from human cooking for the first time, he ended up with a case of diarrhea so bad he ended up running to the can for six hours.
  • Slightly Damned: Kazai accidentally poisons the gang by tossing a partially eaten heartbreak fruit into their soup cauldron, unaware that heartbreak fruit are only safe to eat raw and become toxic when cooked. Luckily the effects are more embarrassing than dangerous.
  • Surviving Romance: One of Chaerin's attempts to avoid the zombie outbreak at her school by simply staying at home ends with her dying from food poisoning.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-666½-J is an apocalyptically toxic crab-stuffed mushroom entreé whose discovery as an SCP was one of these, and still unleashes multiple, serial and localized apocalypses on the digestive system of anyone that eats them, giving them the most painful diarrhea imaginable. The victims went through so much pain that the cooking staff had to be put into protective custody so the unfortunate people who ate it wouldn't try to murder them. The exact cause of the poisoning is unknown but likely was either from poor sanitation by the cooking staff or an experimental salt substitute used in the dish.
    Object Class: Sweet mother of mercy is it ever Keter
  • Chubbyemu has several educational videos about real-life incidents of accidental poisoning, often the result of people eating things that they shouldn't have or from consuming something in unsafe amounts, going into detail about how different toxins and infections affect the body.
  • A video on YouTube, "Real Life Popeye," presents the Brodax Popeye, the Fleischer Olive and the Hanna-Barbera Bluto in what starts as a standard conflict over Olive. Popeye eats his spinach then suddenly collapses and doubles over clutching his stomach and breaking wind. The spinach he ate was tainted ("I buys in bulk!").

    Western Animation 
  • In the 6teen episode "The Khaki Girl", an accidentally unplugged fridge results in a Vomit Chain Reaction that wreaks havoc through the entire shopping mall. The worst puking incident of all happens during a kiss.
    • In the episode "Stupid Over Cupid," Nikki talks about some of her bad experiences with Valentine's Day dates. In one incident, during the school's Valentine's dance, Nikki's date gave her chocolate creams that were a year old and she ended up getting food poisoning and was rushed to the emergency room.
  • In Alvin and the Chipmunks, Alvin wins a sweepstakes, and has to choose between two prizes: $500, or a mystery prize that could range anywhere from a free lunch to millions of dollars. The episode goes into a "what if" scenario showing what would happen if he picked either prize. If he picks the mystery prize, it ends up being a free lunch, where he gets food poisoning that weakens his vocal chords, forcing him to give up his singing career, and he along with his family and friends wind up spending the rest of their lives in poverty.
  • One episode of Beavis and Butt-Head had Beavis with a really nasty rash on his crotch, which he scratched frantically even while working at Burger World. Everyone in the restaurant ends up collapsing, and a news reports states that the virus strain is one they've never seen before.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • In "Inspection Detection", when Cosmo and Wanda show Jorgen a slide show of their trips around the world (as a means to distract him from the fact Timmy was gone), Cosmo was seen throwing up into a paper bag in each one. Wanda reveals that Cosmo got food poisoning everywhere they went.
    • One episode involved Timmy's classroom getting food poisoning from a cake that Tad and Chad made for the student body presidential election. The only ones unaffected were Timmy himself and Principal Waxelplax (who is frosting intolerant). Because of this, Timmy wins the election because nobody else was able to vote.
  • Futurama: In "Parasites Lost", Fry eats a sketchy gas-station sandwich and gets an infestation of worms. But these worms are intelligent enough to know they should take care of their host, and they actually take steps to improve his health.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat owns a restaurant called McDaubenote  which is a parody of McDonald's. Anyone who eats there is prone to getting food poisoning that induces severe vomiting, the worst example of which ended with Pretty having to go to the hospital and have surgery on some of her digestive organs.
  • King of the Hill has an episode where the supply of Alamo Beer delivered to Mexico has been tainted with some cleaning solution. Peggy finds out about it while taking on a temporary job as a call-center operator, and listens to complaints all day about vomiting and diarrhea caused by drinking the beer. Eventually she gets the executives at Alamo to admit their mistake and initiate a recall after sneaking some Mexican-market Alamo into a board meeting.
  • Looney Tunes: In "Bewitched Bunny," Witch Hazel spikes a carrot with poisons and gives it to Bugs Bunny who succumbs after eating it. The prince from Snow White arrives and kisses Bugs' hand to revive him, unaware he's in the wrong fairy tale (the cartoon started as Hansel and Gretel).
  • The Loud House:
    • In "Tripped!", the Loud family enjoy some egg salad sandwiches that Leni made, only for them to all get sick because Leni made the sandwiches weeks ago because she was so excited about the trip that she wanted to get a headstart.
    • In "Undie Pressure", Bobby gives Lori the exact same smoothie he gave her on their very first date. This results in her bolting to the bathroom in a hurry (and Lisa, desiring to finish her poop studies, deliberately walking in on her to get samples).
    • In "Pets Peeved", Charles, Cliff, Geo, and Walt eat a casserole Lynn Sr. made, but it makes them throw up. Lynn Sr. says that that's the normal response to that casserole, so why he still cooks it is anyone's guess.
    • In the podcast, Listen Out Loud, it's revealed that Bobby got food poisoning on his second date with Lori.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Applebuck Season", a sleep-deprived Applejack tries to help Pinkie Pie with baking muffins, but gets the ingredients ridiculously wrong, replacing chocolate chips with potato chips, baking soda with soda pop, a cup of flour with "a cup of sour" (lemon juice), and wheat germ with "wheat worms" (earthworms from a mud puddle out back). As a result of the "baked bads", many ponies who tried the free muffins get extremely sick.
    Nurse Redheart: There was a mishap with some of the baked goods.
    Pinkie Pie: (queasy) No... not baked goods, baked bads!
  • One version of The Pied Piper Of Hamlin subverts all of the magical aspects of the original story with natural explanations, including that the piper hid his anger at being cheated then deliberately gave the village children a mild case of food poisoning which also had a mildly hypnotic effect on them. Dancing helped the children to eliminate the poison faster, and the hypnotic effect meant that the children followed the piper. (The piper collapsed the end of the tunnel after all the children were through, and stated his intention of selling them into indentured servitude elsewhere to get the money he'd been cheated out of).
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Homer and Apu". Apu marks down some expired ham. Homer eats it and gets sick. Upon Homer's complaint, Apu offers him ten pounds of "frozen" shrimp. Homer eats it and gets sick. This leads to Apu being exposed for his health-code violations and being fired.
    • In "One Fish, Two Fish, Blow Fish, Blue Fish", Homer eats improperly cut fugu and is told by Dr. Hibbert that he only has 22 hours left to live.
    • Inverted in "A Star Is Torn" when everyone in the family except Lisa gets food poisoning from eating an entirely organic vegetarian meal — when Bart asks why Lisa didn't get sick, Lisa explains that he and the rest of the family got sick because their bodies are so used to eating processed foods. Because of that, it's a shock for their bodies to have foods with "vitamins, minerals and trace amounts of bug feces," which Lisa, as a vegetarian, is used to eating.
    • In "Grade School Confidential", everyone except for Bart, Lisa, Skinner, and Krabappel got sick from eating bad oysters at Martin Prince's birthday party (apparently, Martin's mom decided to serve oysters in lieu of a birthday cake). Bart didn't get sick because he fed his share of oysters to Martin's pet cat while Skinner and Krabappel didn't get sick because they were in Martin's pink playhouse at the time—when Bart questions his sister how she could've gotten sick (since she had become a vegetarian at that point in the series), Lisa admits to her brother that she pretended to have gotten sick from eating the oysters because she wanted an excuse to leave the party without appearing rude.
    • Homer becomes a victim of this trope again in "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo" when he eats a tin of plankton at a 33 cent discount store.
    • "Selma's Choice" combines with Way Past the Expiration Date when Homer brought six-feet of a leftover party sub-sandwich home and continued eating it for weeks afterward, well after it had gone bad, having turned purple and grown fungi on it.
    • "Coming to Homerica" has the entire town sick after eating vegetarian Krustyburgers made with contaminated barley from nearby Ogdenville. This is just a Lead In for the main plot, about Ogdenvillians migrating into Springfield.
      • A similar incident appears in the "Treehouse of Horror XX" short "Don't Have a Cow, Mankind", with Krusty Burger's new Burger2 turning people into "Munchers".
    • "Worst Episode Ever" opens with Bart betting Homer he won't eat a box of baking soda that Homer thinks was in the house when they moved in. This leads to Homer having an "antacid trip".
      Lisa: I'll call poison control. Hi, Fran, it's me. Just a heads-up.
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • Inverted in "Dying For Pie", where SpongeBob is thought to have unknowingly eaten a deadly pie, which will end his life at sunset. Squidward, responsible for bringing a pie-shaped bomb to Spongebob, feels guilty enough to spend the rest of the day doing anything SpongeBob wants. It's eventually revealed that SpongeBob never ate the bomb-pie, but rather a different pie. He saved the bomb, which he promptly trips and thus throws into Squidward's face, producing a nuclear blast.
    • A more straightforward example is in "The Krusty Sponge" when Mr. Krabs sells spoiled Krabby Patties that have turned yellow with green spots and spongy as an attempt to cash in on SpongeBob's popularity. This results in everyone getting sick and turning yellow with green spots.
    • Then there's "The Nasty Patty", in which Krabs and SpongeBob make the titular patty for what they think is a fake health inspector. Hilarity Ensues when they think the patty killed him.
    • A milder example is "Pretty Patties", in which SpongeBob sells colored patties. The people who eat them don't get sick exactly, but they have the effect of causing random body parts of the people who ate them to turn the same color or pattern as the patties they ate, which Mr. Krabs ends up taking the blame for because he took over the business before the effects showed up.
    • Season 11 has the episode "Cuddle E. Hugs", in which SpongeBob hallucinates the titular character - a giant hamster - after eating a moldy Krabby Patty.
    • In one episode Gary is missing, and SpongeBob thinks the seaweed noodle stew he ate was expired and he's in his litter box.
    • In "Born-Again Krabs", Mr. Krabs tries to sell off a rancid Krabby Patty that has been under the grill for Neptune-knows-how-long. When he fails, he takes a bite to prove that it's still good. The result is that he turns Green Around the Gills and rushed to the hospital.
  • In the What's with Andy? episode "Emergency Spew Relish", Andy has a stink bomb and pretends that he's sick from an expired burrito.


Video Example(s):


Grimace Shake

The "Grimace Shake" trend on Tiktok involves a person drinking the shake, and a cut to them dying or dead with a puddle of the shake. Here are a few examples.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheFoodPoisoningIncident

Media sources: