Reply To: Food poisioning at 5 Star European hotel

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Morning Swissexpat – I do hope Mrs SEP is fully recovered, it is a nasty, nasty experience. I had a similar thing happen to me in the Gambia, it is totally exhausting and leaves you so weak. Not something I would want to repeat ever. The Head Chef there tried to tell me that I had had too much sun! As a fair northerner, my sorties in the sun are limited. A hat is my best friend! I tried to work out what had caused it by eliminating what I had eaten and what the DH had eaten, as he was absolutely fine. The only thing I had had that he had not eaten was some rice with my main course. Now rice is notorious for bacteria, especially re-heated. But I hasten to add, just because he had not eaten the rice, it did not mean that it was the rice!

Anyway, as a former Hotel GM, I have had to deal with this type of incident occurring from time to time. The only way to know definitely 100% where any food poisoning originates is for the affected person to provide stool samples and to involve the EHO and/or medical practitioners for analysis. There is no other way.

In my day, and it may have changed now, the chef would keep samples of food served. Not every single dish of course, but for example, in the case of a large function, one portion of everything would be kept and frozen. In the restaurant, selected dishes would be treated in the same way.

Unfortunately due to the type of poison, of which there are several emanating from seafood and shellfish, the Chef would not be aware that there is anything wrong with the food he is sending out. This is quite different of course from any food being “off” for which there is absolutely no excuse for serving.

It is always difficult for an hotel in these circumstances as I am sure, well I know, that sometimes guests can try it on. For example drinking all night in the hotel bar, having a late night room service pizza, being ill the next morning and immediately shouting “food poisoning, bad pizza” – more often than not too much drink! This was quite clearly NOT the case with Mrs SEP! 😉

I think the hotel would have checked as they would not have wished any further outbreaks but in the absence of any physical evidence from Mrs SEP, it would be terribly difficult to trace the actual source of the poisoning, if not impossible. Did you call in medical help? If nothing else Mrs SEP would have been terribly dehydrated. I feel for her, it’s awful.

I think their offer is appropriate in the circumstances and I think taking everything into account fair.

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