A 46-year-old woman passed away Sunday morning from what is assumed to be food poisoning after having a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia. The woman along with her husband and son fell ill after eating at the Riff restaurant. The husband and son are recovering.
Around 75 people who ate at the Riff between February 13 and 16 were tracked down by health authorities, of which 29 suffered food poisoning. The restaurant has now shut indefinitely.
“With the exception of the person who died, all those who fell ill have shown light symptoms – mainly vomiting, The Guardian quoted a regional health authority as saying.
The health authority in its statement further said, food safety officers had inspected the restaurant on February 18 but did not find any obvious explanations for the poisoning. Samples of dishes served as part of a tasting menu were taken and analysed by the National Toxicology Institute.
Meanwhile, reports suggested that a species of mushroom may have been the cause of the sickness to which a spokesperson for the Valencian health ministry declined to comment. However, she said the analysis of the samples was underway.
On the outbreak of the foodborne illness, Bernd H Knöller, head chef and owner of the Riff shut his restaurant until the cause was known and offered his deepest condolences. He further extended help collaborating with the regional health authorities to narrow down the cause of the illness.
“I’ve taken the decision to close the restaurant until we know the precise causes and can reopen with the necessary guarantees for the safety of both staff and customers,” The Guardian quoted Knöller as saying.
The head chef, however, clarified that preliminary inspections proved that the restaurant had complied with the necessary health regulations.
A restaurant which has received up to three Michelin stars is considered excellent under the Michelin Guides, which are series of the oldest European hotel and restaurant guide books.
Riff, with one Michelin star added to its honour, is described by the guide as offering “innovative cuisine … based around the highest quality, seasonal, local products to create successful culinary combinations and interesting set menus”.