Noma has responded to the food poisoning outbreak in which more than 60 diners fell ill with norovirus saying it deeply regrets the incident.
A total of 63 diners were taken ill with Roskilde Sickness, a variant of the virus which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, after eating at Rene Redzepi’s world-famous restaurant in Copenhagen last month.
Fødevarestyrelsen, the national food authority in Denmark, visited Noma on 20 February after it received reports that a number of customers had got sick there between 12 and 16 February.
Following an inspection, it blamed “poor hygiene” for the outbreak at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant. “There has been illness among staff who have handled the food products,” it said.
The authority went on to criticise Noma for not reacting quickly enough and disinfecting the kitchen in time to prevent contamination. It also found that there was no hot water for staff to wash their hands.
Noma’s director Peter Kreiner has now confirmed the outbreak, adding that 63 out of 435 diners who ate at the restaurant during the period were affected.
“At Noma, having happy and satisfied guests is our number one priority. It is paramount to our daily work and lives. It is a matter that deeply affects us all, and that we sincerely regret,” he said.
“We have been in direct dialogue with those customers affected.”
Kreiner added: “As a precaution the kitchen and restaurant have been deep cleaned several times following Health Inspection guidelines. This has been done on top of the overall cleaning, which takes place several times a day in the kitchen. Finally, all foods from week 7 were destroyed.”
Noma – a combination of Nordish (Nordic) and Mad (food) – is a partnership between Danish restaurateur and TV chef Claus Meyer and Redzepi, whose career has included stints at some of the world’s finest restaurants, including Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in California and Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli in Spain.
It has been the named the world’s best restaurant for three consecutive years. The menu at Noma is a “personal rendition of Nordic gourmet cuisine” – a
mix of costly and everyday ingredients, unusual foraged native foods,
and home-made vinegars, beers, spirits and wines. Alongside modern
cooking techniques, Redzepi has also revitalised age-old, curative and
non-chemical methods of cooking such as smoking, salting, pickling,
drying, grilling and baking on slabs of basalt.
Noma last year held a pop-up restaurant at Claridge’s in London.
In 2009, Heston Blumenthal closed his three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant after more than 500 diners were struck down by norovirus caused by contaminated shellfish. The chef later received £200,000 compensation from insurers.