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Like water off a fat duck’s back?

2 November 2009

Celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal has escaped a food safety prosecution due to there being insufficient evidence to show a clear breach of food safety legislation.

Avoiding a prosecution is clearly a good thing. However, following the investigation into the allegations that Blumenthal’s food had sickened 529, a report was produced by the Health Protection Agency (“HPA”). The report criticised the Michelin star restaurant and has been circulating in the public domain for some time now.

The report primarily concluded that oysters tainted with sewage led to guests contracting the norovirus after eating at the restaurant.

However, the report did not absolve Blumenthal’s restaurant from responsibility. It identified failings in the management system. In particular, it said that the restaurant had failed to respond to the incident appropriately.

As well as the negative image that the incident has already created, Blumenthal’s handling of the outbreak, and in particular his hostile response to the HPA’s findings has upset some of its customers, and it is reported that some customers intend to sue the celebrity chef.

Does this story give you the confidence that you have the protection from Food Safety Legislation that you expect when you dine out ?

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