Fat Duck still delusional about food safety

Traditional media is starting to pick up on the food safety nonsense coming out of the Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal’s signature restaurant that sickened 529 with norovirus from raw oysters – and staff – in 2009.

The Guardian reports today the Fat Duck fiasco was the largest restaurant-related norovirus outbreak, ever.

The latest report published in the journal, Epidemiology and Infection, reports that at least 240 people had gastroenteritis

The fun part is the delusional deconstruction offered by a Fat Duck spokesthingy to the Guardian:

"The reported illness in February 2009 at the Fat Duck was confirmed as oysters contaminated at source by norovirus. At the time we voluntarily closed the restaurant and called in the authorities. We co-operated with all parties fully and transparently and received a clean bill of health to reopen after a 10-day investigation.”

The paper says the outbreak was reported to health types six weeks after the putative index case, and only after the restaurant had hired private consultants and only after the restaurant had already closed. By this time the restaurant had received 66 complaints of illness, but not bothered to tell anyone.

"We also received full support by our insurers who found no fault in our practices following a report from a leading UK independent specialist.”

Insurers tend not to publish peer-reviewed papers; no one knows who this independent specialist is. But anyone can know what the health types found. It’s in the paper.

“There is still no guaranteed safety measure in place today to protect the general public with regards to shellfish and viral contamination. For this reason we still do not serve oysters or razor clams at the Fat Duck."

There never was a guaranteed safety measure to protect the public from norovirus in raw shellfish, yet the restaurant knowingly chose to serve them anyway – until they got caught and made a lot of people barf.

Keep blaming others, Heston and crew, the Brits will swallow anything. Guess that’s why the Duck was attracting tens of thousands of calls a day from prospective diners earlier this year.

22 sick with vibrio from raw oysters in Washington state

The Washington State Department of Health reports that 18 people have been sickened with Vibrio parahaemolyticus after eating raw oysters linked to commercial operations and four illnesses to recreational harvesting in Puget Sound and on the Washington coast.

Cooking shellfish thoroughly will prevent vibriosis illness and is always a good idea. This is especially important during the summer months of July and August when warm temperatures and low tides along ocean beaches and in Puget Sound allow the bacteria to thrive.

If you harvest oysters recreationally this summer, follow these steps to avoid vibriosis:?
• Put oysters on ice or refrigerate them as soon as possible after harvest.
• If a receding tide has exposed oysters for a long time, don’t harvest them.
• Always cook oysters thoroughly. Cooking oysters at 145° F for 15 seconds destroys vibrio bacteria. Rinsing fully-cooked oysters with seawater can recontaminate them.

For commercial harvesters, special control measures are in place from May through September to keep people from getting sick if they eat raw oysters.

Guess those special measures didn’t work this time.