HPA Investigates Fat Duck Restaurant
The Health Protection Agency is leading the investigation into an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting associated with the Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire.
The Agency's Thames Valley Health Protection Unit (HPU) is working with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Environmental Health Department.
The aim is to establish the source of the illness and make recommendations to ensure any further risk is reduced as much as possible. The investigation has two elements:
* Examining samples of foodstuffs from the restaurant; samples taken from people who reported being ill after eating there; samples from all members of staff; and a risk assessment of all food storage, preparation and cooking processes. Experts from the HPA Centre for Infections are assisting by offering sensitive laboratory tests to look at possible contamination of foodstuffs by germs - either bacterial or viral - which could have occurred at any time from before supply to the restaurant to reaching the plate.
* Investigating the characteristics of all the individuals affected: their symptoms and the food they ate. The Agency also plans to do further studies among all those who ate at the restaurant during this time, whether they reported being ill or not.
The restaurant's management is co-operating fully with the investigation and closed voluntarily last week after a number of people reported being ill soon after eating at the restaurant in Bray. The number of possible cases reported to the restaurant has risen since media coverage of the outbreak, to around 400 going back to late January and mostly through February.
Dr Graham Bickler, Regional Director of the HPA South East region said: "This is a very complex outbreak. We are working closely with the restaurant and with colleagues in the Royal Borough's Environmental Health team to explain what happened and to ensure that the risks of it happening again are reduced as much as possible."
Cllr Phillip Bicknell, the Royal Borough's lead member for public protection, said: "Our environmental health officers and colleagues in the HPA are working hard to resolve this issue. We are committed to the welfare of our residents and visitors to the restaurant and need to ensure the investigation is thorough."