Shellfish Polluted with Raw Sewage Poisoned Hundreds at Heston's Fat Duck

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Prynn Consumer Business Editor

A FOOD-POISONING epidemic which struck down almost 600 diners at Heston Blumenthal's award-winning Fat Duck restaurant was caused by raw shellfish contaminated with human sewage, an official report released today revealed.

During January and February hundreds of guests -- including television sports commentator Jim Rosenthal and boxing promoter Frank Warren -- suffered sudden bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting after visiting the Michelin-starred eaterie.

Health inspectors who conducted a probe into the outbreak have now confirmed that the norovirus bug, brought into the restaurant through contaminated shellfish, was to blame.

The Health Protection Agency experts also concluded that the outbreak continued to affect diners for six weeks because sick staff continued to come to work and handle the shellfish.

Unsuitable products were also said to have been used to clean kitchen surfaces. The report into the restaurant, in Bray, Berkshire, said: "There was a large outbreak of food poisoning among diners at the Fat Duck restaurant in January and February 2009, with more than 500 reporting illness. The organism responsible was norovirus which was probably introduced via shellfish. …