Food poisoning is acquired by eating an old corpse. It is marked by the text FoodPois on the status line. The initial time-to-live is set to 10 + 1d9 turns.[1] It is eventually fatal, but can be cured by doing one of the following:

The full list of less common remedies also includes:

  • vomiting from eating tripe, a rotten egg, or in SporkHack, drinking a potion of salt water. This is quite unreliable, but it's there.
  • polymorphing into a new version of yourself[2] or a sickness-resistant monster[3]. (A new version includes if you "fail" to change form, but get your attributes adjusted.)
  • getting hit by a nurse's healing attack[4],
  • sitting on a throne (1/13 chance)[5].

And importantly Poison resistance is not a remedy, if you become food poisoned and rely on this you will die.

Food poisoning is completely preventable (in NetHack) by avoiding eating old corpses. Corpses left by zombies and other undead (except wraith) are always considered old. A corpse is too old to eat after 6*(9+1d20) turns, where 6 is replaced with 8 if blessed and 4 if cursed.[6]


In SLASH'EM, you may also get food poisoning from swallowing a pill. You can cure food poisoning by sitting on a toilet.

Source code referencesEdit

  1. Eat.c#line1270
  2. Polyself.c#line190
  3. Polyself.c#line1411
  4. Mhitu.c#line1407
  5. Sit.c#line188
  6. Eat.c#line1253
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