Campylobacter Victim Backs Illness Lawyers’ Call For New EU Regulations On Bacteria

Woman Demands New Measures To Tackle Food Poisoning


A woman who contracted campylobacter on holiday in Bulgaria has instructed specialist illness lawyers to investigate the cause of her illness and is also backing the experts’ calls for new regulations to reduce the levels of the bacteria in food sold or served to the public.
Helen Witts, from Pontyclun in South Wales, was diagnosed with the illness shortly after returning home from visiting the Tiara Beach Club Hotel resort in August 2014, she suffered from gastric symptoms including stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting. The severity of Helen’s illness led to her being off work as a School driver assistant for a period of two months.

Now, after instructing expert travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how she came to fall ill, she is backing their call for the EU to introduce new Regulations which would prevent meat found to contain high levels of campylobacter from reaching supermarket shelves.
A study by the European Food and Safety Authority has estimated cases of campylobacter related gastric illness could be cut by between 50 to 90 per cent if EU limits on campylobacter, similar to those already in place for salmonella, were introduced.

Expert Opinion
"This case is a terrible example of how gastric illnesses caused by campylobacter not only ruin precious time away with family, but can also go on to have a lasting impact once victims are back home.

"While campylobacter can be eradicated with thorough cooking and safe handling of food, it is one of the most common causes of food poisoning and concerns regarding its presence in chickens have even led the Food Standards Agency to launch a campaign on the issue.

"As well as working to help Helen gain the answers she deserves following her holiday, we are also urging the EU to do what it can to reduce the risks that the public face – beginning with new limits to ensure that meat is thoroughly tested for the bacteria before it makes its way to the public."
Clare Comiskey, Associate

School driver assistant Helen Witts, 51, was on holiday at the Tiara Beach Club Hotel in Bulgaria – booked via Thomas Cook – with her partner Colin, 58, and their son Liam, 15, when she fell ill on the penultimate day of their stay.
While Helen self-medicated using medicines she took with her, she went to see a GP when she returned home and it was confirmed that her gastric illness had been caused by campylobacter. The severity of her symptoms meant she decided to leave work to focus on her recovery and was out of work for two months as a result.
Irwin Mitchell are also acting for a further 7 holidaymakers who stayed at the hotel in August 2014, 5 of whom also fell ill.  Thomas Cook is currently investigating the claims.
Helen recalls: “We’d been having such a great family holiday so the illness was a really depressing way for it to end. I just assumed that whatever it was would pass, but our journey home from the airport was a nightmare – we had to stop at a number of service stations as the symptoms just did not go away.
“I couldn’t believe it when the GP told me my illness had been caused by campylobacter – I am just so frustrated that this has affected me and it has put the holiday in a whole new light. We’ll only remember it because of this now and I want answers about how this happened.
“I’m really shocked that authorities have Regulations in place on salmonella but not for campylobacter. I think Regulations should be in place in respect of Campylobacter too.”