‘Lessons Must Be Learned’ From Fat Duck Norovirus Outbreak Report

More Than 200 Reportedly Ill After Problems In 2009

07.12.2011

An illness lawyer at Irwin Mitchell has called for lessons to be learned following the release of the new report into a norovirus outbreak at the Fat Duck restaurant which is believed to be one of the biggest on record.

The report has been published in an academic journal by Cambridge University Press, which claims around 240 people fell ill as a result of eating at the Heston Blumenthal restaurant in Berkshire in Spring 2009.

It also suggested that apparent delays in the reporting of the illness outbreak – caused by contaminated oysters – to public authorities including the Health Protection Agency may have played a part in its size and the length of time it continued.

However, the Fat Duck has since defended its procedures and denied it should have acted differently.

Suki Chhokar, a Partner at Irwin Mitchell who specialises in helping those who have suffered as a result of illness outbreaks both in the UK and abroad, said the release of the report was an important reminder to restaurants and other businesses on safety and hygiene.

He said: “Norovirus is a very serious illness and has the potential to leave sufferers with long-term health problems from which they never fully recover.

“Sadly, in many of the cases we act in, we see first-hand the terrible consequences caused when restaurants, hotels and holiday resorts are hit by illness problems including those related to norovirus.

“It is vital that such organisations are aware of their responsibilities when it comes to customer safety and ensuring outbreaks are managed in a correct manner.

“We hope that the report into the outbreak faced by the Fat Duck will ensure businesses recognise the terrible impact that outbreaks can have and encourage them to regularly assess the procedures they have in place to reduce the likelihood of such problems in the future.”