Top restaurant hit by salmonella scare

12 August 2004
Top restaurant hit by salmonella scare

Chapter One, the award-winning restaurant in Locksbottom, Kent, has been hit by a salmonella outbreak seemingly linked to imported eggs.

The one-Michelin-starred eaterie, named AA restaurant of the year for England in 2004, has described the outbreak as an "isolated and extraordinary incident".

It has now been given the all-clear by local environmental health officials.

Chapter One itself alerted Bromley Council at the end of July after receiving calls from customers. Local GPs also reported several cases.

A spokesman for the environmental health team said 15 confirmed cases of salmonella enteritidis had been linked to the 120-seat restaurant but added that the outbreak had now stopped.

The exact causes of the food poisoning are still being investigated, but suspicions have fallen on a batch of eggs imported from Spain. They were used in various dishes.

The spokesman added that the restaurant had co-operated fully with the council's investigation.

Chapter One said its normal supplier had not been able to supply enough eggs during the period in question, so it had switched to another supplier.

A spokeswoman added: "It is unfortunate and typical that the one and only time we have been forced to purchase eggs from an alternative supplier this happens, blemishing our spotless record to date."

She said: "All the necessary steps have been taken to prevent this ever happening again and we do hope that this will be regarded as the isolated and extraordinary incident it is.

"Chapter One has always prided itself on maintaining excellent standards of health and hygiene in both preparation of food and staff practices - our health and safety consultant undertakes regular audits of both our suppliers and practices.

"All our suppliers are carefully selected with both quality and traceability always in mind."

Additional safety measures now put in place include greater use of pasteurised egg.

Chef Andrew McLeish, who is understood to have been on paternity leave at the time of the outbreak, was said by insiders to be "in pieces" over the incident.

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