Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

No legal action over Fat Duck bug

Fat Duck
Investigators said shellfish may not have been "appropriately" handled

No legal action will be taken against Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire after 500 diners contracted a vomiting bug.

The norovirus outbreak in January and February is thought to have been caused by shellfish.

Windsor and Maidenhead council said there was "insufficient evidence" that food safety legislation had been breached at the Bray restaurant.

The Fat Duck said it had not lapsed in its "strict" food preparation methods.

The outbreak, which centred on the Michelin-starred establishment, continued for six weeks between 6 January and 22 February.

Delayed response

In a statement, the council said: "While there were some actions which could have been taken which may have lessened the severity of the outbreak and the number of diners affected, there is insufficient evidence to show any clear breaches under food safety legislation and no further formal action will be taken on this occasion."

A report by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) concluded that the outbreak was probably introduced via shellfish.

There were reports of illness in other establishments which used oysters from the same source, it found.

Investigators noted several weaknesses in procedures at the restaurant, including a delayed response to the illness, which may have lead to the spread of the virus.

The HPA said restaurant staff had co-operated fully with the investigation and that the Fat Duck was able to reopen in March.

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