"World's Best Restaurant" Noma Makes Dozens of People Sick

"World's Best Restaurant" Noma Makes Dozens of People Sick
April 9, 2013

Located in Denmark, Noma has been named as "World's Best" by Restaurant Magazine for three years running. This could be the reason why its food poisoning epidemic has gained such attention.

According to the food safety governing body in Denmark, Fodevarestyrelsen, more than 67 different people became ill in one single week after eating at Noma.

The Restaurant

A fine dining, upscale dining establishment, Noma has space for only 12 diners at one time. During a given week, they usually serve less than one hundred people. The restaurant is known for a few things:

  • It's continued best restaurant status.
  • The cutting edge equipment it uses to provide foods.
  • The fact that the chef often forages vegetables and game for the restaurant on his own.
  • Only native Nordic foods are used in the establishment. All foods are fresh and not processed.
  • The average meal is about $260 per person.

How did such a fine establishment make so many people sick?

The Study

When an investigation began after so many people became ill in one week from Norovirus, something surprising was discovered. The restaurant had no hot water. This means that employees didn’t have the proper means to wash their hands and kill germs properly. Most likely, the food poisoning occured because of the contamination from hands.

Norovirus is most commonly known as the epidemic that hits cruise ships regularly. It is extremely contagious and can be passed from one person to another just by touching the same surfaces. Symptoms of the virus include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Aches
  • Chills

According to the American Centers for Disease Control, about half of all the food poisoning cases in a given year are caused by Norovirus. Often, it isn’t noticed because it mimics the same symptoms as a stomach flu. This means numerous people never even go to the doctor when they become ill.

This newest news is certainly going to bring more attention to food safety in restaurants throughout the world. If restaurants and other dining establishments don’t take the proper steps to protect patrons, then there could be more cases of food borne illness. Governing bodies in Australia are already making stricter laws on food safety. For example, the ACT government now requires that all dining establishments have a well-trained food safety supervisor on site to ensure that all codes and laws are followed by employees.