High tea at the Langham, Melbourne, is a key suspect in food poisoning outbreak

The Langham in Melbourne. Source: Langham Hotels.

Six people were taken to hospital with suspected food poisoning people and another 28 struck have been treated for the illness following a salmonella outbreak linked to high tea at the five-star Langham Hotel in Melbourne earlier this month.

Victoria’s Health Department of Health believes the outbreak occurred among people who had the afternoon tea on July 11 and 12. The number of reported cases may still increase, but so far only two of the 34 suspected cases have been confirmed from tests.

The hotel’s website explains that Afternoon Tea features specialty brews served in custom-made Wedgwood tea ware, and the menu includes smoked salmon, cucumber and horseradish crème fraiche, chicken with chives and lemon thyme, and traditional fruit and buttermilk scones with strawberry and rose petal preserve, butter and clotted cream.

Authorities are awaiting the results of further tests, as well as tests to determine the source of the outbreak.

Symptoms, which include vomiting, dehydration and fever, may take up to five days to emerge, so no-one will fall sick at this point, however people have been getting in touch with the department as news of the suspected outbreak emerged. There is no treatment for the illness.

The Herald Sun reported that among the victims was a 33-year mother of three who spent a week in hospital, while a 78-year-old woman was taken to hospital on Monday.

The Langham’s managing director, Ben Sington, said the hotel was working with the Department of Health and Human Services as it investigates the outbreak and is in contact with guests who ate at the hotel’s Aria Bar & Lounge that weekend.

He said the hotel’s quality and risk assessment manager conducts daily food safety checks and frozen samples are systematically retained.

“Detailed food preparation logs and samples have been provided to the Environmental Health Officer for further analysis,” Sington said.

In March, salmonella poisoning has left 24 people in hospital and 250 with gastro-intestinal problems following a meal at a school principals’ conference in Brisbane.

Victoria has already had more than 2100 cases of salmonella this year.

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