‘World’s Best Restaurant’ poisons 63 diners due to poor hygiene

Noma Was Named the “World’s Best Restaurant” Three Times by Restaurant Magazine

Lance Tillson

“Poor hand hygiene” is reportedly the source of a stomach virus outbreak at Noma, a world-class restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark. According to Reuters, Noma apologized Friday after 63 guests became sick after visiting the restaurant. The guests became ill with vomiting and diarrhea, two symptoms associated with norovirus.

Noma is no ordinary restaurant. The Danish restaurant has earned two Michelin stars from the Michelin Guide, a series of annual guide books published by Michelin for over a dozen countries. And, it was named the “World’s Best Restaurant” three times by Restaurant Magazine, according to the New York Daily News.

Despite its stellar reputation, the norovirus outbreak may have come from a sick kitchen staff employee, according to Danish food safety inspectors.

“We have established that from 12 groups, with 63 ill out of 78 who ate there in the period of 12th Feb. to 16th Feb became ill. At the same time there has been illness among personnel handling food,” wrote the Danish Food Standards Agency in a report.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, norovirus is an extremely contagious virus. A person can get norovirus from an infected individual, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. Norovirus symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

The CDC adds that norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. It causes approximately 21 million illnesses and contributes to about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths annually.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Danish Food Administration officials have lowered Noma’s “smiley rating” from a big smiley to a smaller smiley (you can read more about Denmark’s food smileys here).

Noma managing director Peter Kreiner told Reuters in an email that the restaurant is working very closely with the Danish food safety inspectors to identify the source of the infection. Kreiner also told Reuters that has discussed compensation with all of the affected diners.

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