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Food fest not linked to viral bug

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: May 02, 2013

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A VIRAL outbreak which left more than 50 people with vomiting and diarrhoea was not caused by food served at an Ilfracombe event, a council report has concluded.

In March the Journal reported Environmental Health officers were investigating 36 reports of illness linked to a food exhibition hosted by Ilfracombe Foodservice at the Landmark Theatre on March 5.

The event featured stands from 80 different international exhibitors, including food giants such as Heinz, Nestlé and Unilever.

A report issued on April 15 by Dean Davies, Senior Food Safety Officer for North Devon Council, states more than 50 people reported being ill, including staff at the Landmark Theatre and Ilfracombe Foodservice, exhibitors at the event and guests and customers.

Symptoms started between one and six days after the event and included violent vomiting and diarrhoea.

The report states although there was anecdotal evidence that some food available on the buffet was undercooked, there was no evidence to substantiate these claims.

Mr Davies said: "We have concluded the infection was from an unknown source and caused by an unknown organism.

"The pattern of infection is typical of a secondary spread from person to person.

"We have concluded that the food at the buffet was not the direct source of the outbreak, but we cannot eliminate the possibility the virus could have been spread from an infected person or persons who ate at the buffet."

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