Specialist Lawyers Contacted Over Newcastle Food Festival Outbreak

Lawyers Call For Authorities to Keep Public Informed Of Investigation


By Rob Dixon

The suspected food poisoning outbreak at a recent Newcastle food festival has been brought to the attention of specialist illness lawyers who have acted in relation to outbreaks across the world, in order to investigate the cause of the illness.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist illness lawyers, who represent people affected by outbreaks of food poisoning in holiday resorts, on cruise ships and at events in the UK and across the globe, have been instructed to investigate the problems linked to the Street Spice festival held at the city’s Centre for Life earlier this month.

The Outbreak Control Team investigating the outbreak have confirmed that more than 380 people have reported sickness after eating at the event, while 14 samples submitted have tested positive for salmonella.

Investigations continue to be undertaken by the team, which includes officers from Newcastle City Council and the Health Protection Agency, to identify the source of the outbreak.

Suki Chhokar, a Partner and expert in illness claims at the law firm, which has a Newcastle office, said: “We have now heard worrying accounts in relation to what those who have attended the festival have been through and it is clear that authorities need to continue to work quickly and thoroughly to determine the source of these problems.

“It is becoming increasingly evident that a huge number of people could have been affected by this illness and both they and their families will be seeking answers as to what has happened, as well as reassurances as to what will be done to prevent the circumstances from being repeated in the future.

“The seriousness of such outbreaks cannot be underestimated, as through our work we have seen how people of all ages can suffer significant long-term problems as a result of contracting salmonella.”

Chhokar added that the authorities in Newcastle should aim to learn from previous experiences his team have seen in other major illness outbreaks across the UK.

He explained: “At present we’re also acting for victims of Legionnaires’ outbreaks in Stoke-on-Trent and Edinburgh, and in Scotland we have seen requests for information turned down as authorities seem to have developed a wall of silence leaving those affected in the dark about exactly what went wrong.

“It is now a number of months since our clients in Edinburgh were affected by illness, yet they still do not know exactly how they came to be affected. We would urge health authorities in Newcastle to be as open and transparent as possible with the public to ensure people get the answers they deserve and, ultimately, reassurances over future safety.”

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