By Dan Warburton | Chronicle Live
Food poisoning victims are launching legal action after being diagnosed with salmonella at a city centre festival.
Hundreds of people suffered sickness symptoms after eating at the Street Spice event at the Centre for Life in Newcastle.
An investigation discovered 14 of the samples submitted had tested positive for salmonella. Now legal teams are considering courtroom action that could lead to huge pay-outs for those affected.
Sandi Sidhu, an illness claim specialist with Irwin Mitchell, said they had been contacted by a number of people and are investigating the cause of the outbreak.
She said: “We are in the initial stages of proceedings at present and we are asking the council to be as open about it as possible. They are involved with the Health Protection Agency and they are doing their own inquiries. It’s clear that something did go wrong.
“With something on this scale, it’s obvious that some sort of health and hygiene procedure has not been complied with and we need to work out exactly what went wrong.
“With salmonella, sufferers can experience long-term consequences six months down the line.”
Solicitors were unable to say how many people would form the basis of litigation but added they had received a number of calls.
A total of 342 people have now reported sickness symptoms after eating at the event.
The findings were released by the Outbreak Control Team, made up of officers from Newcastle City Council Environmental Health and the Health Protection Agency.
The team is still talking to businesses and food suppliers to try to identify the source of the outbreak.
Suki Chhokar, a partner and expert in illness claims at the law firm, which has a Newcastle office, said: “We have now heard worrying accounts in relation to what those who have attended the festival have been through.
“It is clear authorities need to continue to work quickly and thoroughly to determine the source of these problems.
“It is becoming increasingly evident that a huge number of people could have been affected by this illness and both they and their families will be seeking answers as to what has happened, as well as reassurances as to what will be done to prevent the circumstances from being repeated in the future.”
It is estimated 12,000 people from across the North East attended the event in Times Square between February 28 and March 2.