Grand Hyatt Hong Kong linked to 15 food poisoning cases involving tainted ice cream

Health authorities have identified eight linked food poisoning clusters involving 15 people who ate vanilla ice cream at three restaurants at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Hong Kong earlier this month.

The Centre for Health Protection said on Friday that the clusters included three earlier linked to the same hotel in Wan Chai, where all the affected people fell ill after eating the ice cream at the three venues on June 1 and 2.

“They developed abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea about 15 to 65 hours after consuming the food concerned,” it said.

The centre said the nine men and six women who fell ill were aged three to 42, with all in stable conditions after seeking medical treatment. Four of them were sent to hospital but were later discharged, it added.

“The stool specimens of six affected people were positive for Salmonella upon laboratory testing. Four of the Salmonella isolates belong to the same group of Salmonella enteritidis,” it said.

“In view of the epidemiological investigations and test results, the affected people’ symptoms were very likely related to consumption of the concerned ice cream provided by the hotel.”

The centre said environmental hygiene officers had inspected the relevant restaurants and the ice cream production kitchen, as well as reviewing the food preparation process and collecting samples for testing.

Salmonella bacteria. The stool specimens of six affected people were positive for Salmonella upon laboratory testing, according to the centre. Photo: Shutterstock

The concerned premises had also been suspended from the production and sale of the food while the locations were undergoing cleaning and disinfection, it said.

The centre said it also provided advice on food safety and environmental hygiene to people in charge and staff of the restaurants.

Health authorities visited the restaurants and the ice cream production kitchen again on June 12 to conduct further inspections and testing, before finding everything was normal.

“So far, no salmonella was found in the ice cream and vanilla oil samples, environmental samples and staff stool samples collected from the relevant premises,” the centre said.

The centre said the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) would review the results of the investigation and initiate prosecutions against the premises if there was sufficient evidence.

“The FEHD continued its inspection on a daily basis and confirmed the premises have suspended the production and sale of the food concerned. Follow-up actions are ongoing,” it said.

The Post has contacted the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong for comment.

The centre advised the public to observe personal, culinary and environmental hygiene at all times to prevent food-borne diseases, such as refraining from eating raw seafood when dining out.



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