Diners seek compensation after restaurant food poisoning

The victims of a vicious food poisoning in an Ilkley restaurant are fighting for compensation from the former owners of the restaurant, Saffron. It’s estimated that over 60 people contracted the rare gastro-intestinal bug giardia lamblia after eating at the restaurant in 2007.

Two men have been served suspended jail sentences and banned from working with food ever again after pleading guilty to 12 breaches of food hygiene law and selling food unfit for human consumption, Bradford Crown Court heard last week (Ilkley Gazette, 2009).

Despite the parasitic bug being incredibly rare in Britain, it’s thought that the disease could have been spread by a contaminated water filtering system at Saffron. Environmental health experts reckon there have been only around 200 reported cases.

The court heard not only that the business had been unregistered with Bradford Council, but that the men had obstructed the inquiry carried out by the council into the outbreak.

Action group

Victims began to pursue compensation claims from the firm’s insurers after one woman who was hit organised other victims of the bug to form an action group. The vicious bug can cause a range of symptoms including nausea, stomach cramps and indigestion. Patients lost weight, with many needing courses of medication, while some had to receive more extensive treatment for the illness.

Mohammed Ayub and Abdul Ghafoor received nine-month and six-month suspended jail sentences respectively, and both have received orders to undertake 250 hours of community service. Ghafoor was also charged with £500 costs, and both have received supervision orders

‘Criminally inept’

Police are waiting to prosecute a third man, Mohammed Tariq Ayub, who had apparently been a business partner and went missing during the investigation. The court recorder described the hygiene standards at Saffron as “an accident waiting to happen,” due to the “criminally inept way the restaurant was run,” (Ilkley Gazette, 2009).

It is reckoned that the outbreak of giardia lamblia was the first in Britain to be associated with a restaurant business; it is usually a danger in other parts of the world wherever there is unpurified water. Saffron’s employees were alleged not to know how to adequately clean and maintain a hygienic environment, and the head chef did not know how to properly wash his hands, the court heard. Citizens were told that the restaurant was ‘riddled’ with E.coli, as well as the disease giardia lamblia (Ilkley Gazette, 2009).

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