‘I can think of nicer ways to lose weight’ Food bug takes down New Zealand mayor and councillors

If alleged food safety types at universities think nothing of ordering sandwiches layered with sprouts for their weekly wankfest, how are other mere mortals supposed to know about food safety at political events?

Seven Lower Hutt councillors (near Wellington) have been felled by a severe stomach bug after a function at the Dowse Art Museum cafe.

y a t il un pilote dans l'avion ?The councillors, including the mayor and deputy mayor, suffered symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea and headaches.

Regional Public Health was focusing its investigations yesterday on a city planning function the council hosted last Monday night at the Dowse.

Four invited property developers also fell ill after the wine-and-nibbles function.

The 24 people who attended were served mini hamburgers and raw fish ceviche at the event, catered by Reka Cafe, which is based at the museum.

Mayor Ray Wallace had to cancel all meetings and appointments from Wednesday last week. “I’m still not firing on all four,” he said yesterday.

He had lost 3.5 kilograms from the illness. “There’s always a silver lining, although I can think of nicer ways of losing the weight.”

So many councillors were sick that the council had to cancel a Wednesday night hearing of public submissions on its psychoactive substances policy.

Annette Nesdale, of Regional Public Health, said lab results due back this week should shed light on what caused the outbreak.

Possibilities included food poisoning from ingredients or preparation methods, a sick cook, or a sick guest who spread the bug.

Reka manager and armchair epidemiologist James Hutton said the ingredients and food were beyond reproach (really? really? got data to back that up?).

He blamed the outbreak on a staff member who helped prepare the food, then fell ill the next day with a gastro bug.