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Heston Blumenthal issues apology for food poisoning outbreak

25 September 2009
Heston Blumenthal issues apology for food poisoning outbreak

Heston Blumenthal has issued an official apology to the victims of the food poisoning outbreak at his three-Michelin-starred restaurant the Fat Duck.

The celebrity chef and proprietor of the iconic restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, has invited each one of the affected diners to return to the Fat Duck as his guest.

Blumenthal closed restaurant for two weeks in February after more than 500 diners were struck down by norovirus, or winter vomiting bug.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) released a report on its investigation into the outbreak earlier this month stating the official cause was contaminated shellfish.

The report pointed to "several weaknesses in procedures" at the Fat Duck including delayed response to the incident and staff working when they should have been off sick.

Blumenthal said he was unable to issue an official response to the report while his team of insurers and legal experts were analysing its findings.

He added that it was a relief for him to finally be able to offer his "fullest apologies" to all those affected.

"It was extremely frustrating to not be allowed to personally apologise to my guests until now," he said.

"It was devastating to me and my whole team the affects of February this year, as it was to many of our guests, and I wish to invite them all to return to The Fat Duck at their convenience."

A spokeswoman for the Fat Duck added that both the experts appointed by The Fat Duck and its insurers believed that there were a number of flaws in the HPA report.

"The HPA report quite clearly indicates that the ultimate responsibility for the outbreak must sit with the supplier and the local water authority," she said.

Fat Duck diners seek legal damages over norovirus outbreak >>

Contaminated shellfish caused food scare at Michelin-starred Fat Duck >>

Norovirus may have closed Fat Duck, says Blumenthal >>

Heston Blumenthal gets go ahead to reopen the Fat Duck >>

The Fat Duck: Business as usual after recent food scare? >>

By Kerstin Kühn

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