A Michelin-starred restaurant in the Spanish city of Valencia is at the centre of a food poisoning outbreak that has killed one woman and affected 29 further
The 46-year-old victim died after eating a meal at Riff in the Mediterranean coast city. Regional health authorities have also identified 29 more people that became ill after visiting the restaurant, according to a statement.
Food Poisoning At Michelin Starred Restaurant
The woman, who has not been identified, died in her home early Sunday morning. Her husband and 12-year-old son also suffered food poisoning but are now in recovery, said authorities.
All of the 29 victims of the outbreak had eaten at Riff between February 13 and 16.
Food inspectors visited the restaurant on February 18 but did not find any explanation for what could have contributed to the outbreak.
A statement released by the owner:
Faced with the facts of which I have knowledge today through the health authorities of the Generalitat Valenciana, which relate to the restaurant that I own, the RIFF, with various gastric affections in several restaurant customers, and even with the death of one of them, I have to state the following:
1. That from the first moment I have lent all my collaboration with the Department of Health for the clarification of the facts, hoping that as soon as possible the causes of what happened can be established.
2. From the first investigations and inspections carried out, it was found that the restaurant complies with all sanitary regulations while awaiting the results of the tests carried out.
3. Regardless of the reason that may have caused this situation, I want to convey my deep regret for what happened, hoping that soon all these facts can be clarified.
4. I have made the decision that the restaurant remains closed until the causes of what happened are established and the activity can be resumed with full guarantees for both staff and all customers.
The inspectors took samples of food used in the tasting menu, which have been sent to Spain’s National Toxicology Institute for analysis.
Riff holds one Michelin star, a prestigious award in the restaurant business.
The Menu Grande tasting menu includes snacks and tapas, six or seven plates and three desserts, according to the Riff website.
The 46-year-old woman reportedly ate a dish containing Morchella fungi (“true morel”), which can be poisonous if not cooked correctly and has a highly poisonous, lookalike cousin known as “false morel.” – as reported by Business Insider.
Globally, almost 1 in 10 people are estimated to fall ill every year from eating contaminated food and 420,000 die as a result, according to the World Health Organization.
Foodborne illness hits one in six Americans every year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say, estimating that 48 million people get sick due to one or other of 31 pathogens. About 128,000 people end up in the hospital while 3,000 die annually.
Preventing food poisoning in the kitchen is the ultimate goal of hygiene and food safety standards. No one wants to cause food poisoning, and no one wants to get food poisoning. So there is a reasonable expectation that food prepared and sold from the kitchen should be done in a manner that prevents food poisoning from happening.
This requires a good understanding of the risks in the kitchen when it comes to handling foods. This also means understanding how bacteria grow and survive and what the risky practices are when preparing, cooking and displaying foods.