Poor hygiene blamed for restaurant illness

March 9, 2013 at 11:00 AM

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, March 9 (UPI) -- "Poor hand hygiene" has been found to be the source of a norovirus outbreak at Noma, an exclusive restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, food inspectors said.

More than 60 people became ill, with vomiting and diarrhea, after eating at the restaurant Feb. 12-16, and an employee became ill Feb. 15, the Financial Times reported Saturday.

Noma, which features Nordic cuisine, has been named the world's best restaurant by Restaurant magazine three years in a row. The restaurant offers a 10-course tasting menu, costing $260, to 40 guests at lunch and dinner.

"It was a cocktail of different noroviruses brought into the kitchen by an [unsuspecting] employee. Because of poor hand hygiene the food was contaminated," Bjorn Wirlander, head of control and enforcement at the Danish food authorities, told the newspaper. "Noma could have also prevented some of the cases if they had read emails [from customers] in time."

Noma said it was working with the patrons who became ill to determine compensation.

"It is something that affects us all deeply and that we are really sad about," Peter Kreiner, Noma's managing director, told Danish newspapers.

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