Food poisoning news

Fat Duck customers wait to make compensation claims

Customers who became ill after eating at the Michelin starred Fat Duck restaurant owned by Heston Blumenthal are still unclear as to whether or not they are entitled to make a compensation claim, even though the cause of the illness has been identified.

Over 400 diners have come forward and described the same symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting after eating in the TV Chef's establishment.

However, as Blumenthal has rigorously maintained, the cause of the illness is likely not to be food poisoning, but the winter vomiting bug, norovirus.

It has been suggested, therefore, that the bug could have been introduced into the restaurant by a customer and was not the result of poor hygiene.

Extensive testing by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) revealed that three staff and five guests tested positive for norovirus.

A HPA spokesperson said, "Based on staff interviews, sickness records and samples taken, it is clear that staff worked while still infectious with norovirus. HPA guidance states that people should not work in food preparation while they have symptoms/are infectious as a result of diarrhoea and vomiting to avoid the risk of passing the infection to others."

Spokespeople for the Fat Duck appeared to deny negligence. One stated, "While the source of this virus is nearly impossible to identify, if a member of staff returned to work whilst still carrying it then they did so unaware they either had the virus or were still contagious."

Another suggested compensation claims may still prove to be unnecessary by saying, "The discussion regarding any need for some sort of compensation will only happen when the investigation is complete."


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