Fat Duck Outbreak Linked To Oysters

Norovirus Outbreak


Raw shellfish, possibly contaminated with human sewage, may have been responsible for the vomiting bug that affected more than 500 customers of Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire, a report has said.

The three-Michelin starred restaurant in Bray was shut down for more than three weeks in February after an outbreak of norovirus which eventually left 529 customers ill with vomiting and diarrhoea.

Investigators at the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the virus carried into the restaurant by contaminated shellfish was in part responsible for the outbreak.

Their report says the impact was exacerbated by the use of unsuitable cleaning materials and employees who contracted the bug returning to work too soon.

The report concluded: "The organism responsible was norovirus. The norovirus was probably introduced via shellfish because diners who ate shellfish dishes were more likely to report illness."

Raw oysters served at the restaurant were traced to a supplier in Essex where health inspectors found norovirus in the beds where the shellfish were grown.

They said "outbreaks of illness in other establishments have been associated with oysters from the same source".

The outbreak at the restaurant lasted for six weeks because of "ongoing transmission" either through continuous contamination of food or from person to person, the report said.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by this then please contact Gary Walker or Kate Monk of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors LLP for initial free advice.