During the 10-year period 1978–87 there were 48 outbreaks of food poisoning in Scottish hospitals affeeting a total of 2287 persons of whom 12 died. This compared with 50 outbreaks during the previous 5 years (1973–77) when over 1500 persons and 7 deaths were recorded. Although the incidence of outbreaks has decreased the average number of persons affected in outbreaks has increased. A marked reduction was seen in the incidence of outbreaks due to Clostridium perfringens, in contrast to foodborne salmonellosis which remains a problem. Thirty-four hospitals, of which 10 reported two or more outbreaks, were involved. The type of hospitals most frequently affected were general (14), psychiatric (13), geriatric (9) and hospitals for the mentally subnormal (7). Meat, including poultry meat, was incriminated in over 90% of outbreaks where a food vehicle was identified. In modern or re-equipped kitchens cooking in advance with subsequent reheating is being progressively discontinued as more food is being cooked on the day of consumption, a practice which may readily explain the decreasing incidence of outbreaks due to Cl. perfringens. Bacterial cross-contamination from poultry-meat and other raw foods, compounded by inadequate temperature control, however, continues to be a problem in some hospitals. It is too early as yet to determine whether the removal of Crown immunity will have any effect on the future incidence of hospital ‘food poisoning’.