‘Blood in the chicken cats around food’ Not a country song but Turkish resort where 595 fell ill in 2009

A family holiday to celebrate a honeymoon and a 40th birthday was ruined after a father-of-three was hospitalised with severe gastric illness.

cat.in.foodThe Swannell family, from West Yorkshire, had booked a week’s stay at the First Choice Holiday Village resort in Sarigerme, Turkey, when Mark Swannell, 46, fell seriously ill a few days into the break with diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and lethargy.

Mr Swannell, a bus driver from Dewsbury, said: ‘I was in a really bad way and Nicola had no option but to get the hotel doctor to come to our room as I felt like I was going to collapse. 

‘I was taken by wheelchair to the surgery, laid out on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to hospital – I couldn’t believe this was happening on our special family holiday.”

Back in 2009, an outbreak of gastric illness at the same resort led to £1.7m paid out in compensation, with 595 people affected by illness. 

Mr Swannell said that some of the food he was served at the hotel had been undercooked. On one occasion, he claims that he cut in to some chicken and noticed blood in the middle. Some food was also said not have to have been served at the correct temperature.

The family also claim that food was left uncovered for prolonged periods of time and appeared as though it had been served more than once. 

They said that cutlery, crockery and table linen used in the restaurant was not up to standard, while they saw cats in the public areas of the hotel and in the restaurant.

Mr Swannell had travelled to the Turkish resort on October 23, 2014 with his wife Nicola and their children Lewis, 13, Kyle, 13 and Keira, seven.

In the 2009 outbreak, over 400 holidaymakers within the group action suffered gastric illness with over 100 men, women and children suffering from infections including Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter and E-Coli. 

A spokesperson for TUI, who manage the First Choice and Thomson brands, told MailOnline Travel: ‘We are sorry to hear of the Swannell’s experience at the Holiday Village Turkey in October.

‘First Choice closely audits all resorts to which we operate to ensure that health, hygiene and comfort levels are maintained in line with industry standards.

‘As this case is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.’