Original publication date: 9 October 2009
The popular Park restaurant, The Compost Heap, was shut down by health inspectors early this morning after several of its patrons fell ill on Tuesday.
Seven Animals, who describe themselves as “regulars” at the twenty-four-hour eating establishment, reported feeling “violently ill” and were taken, separately, by the Elephant Emergency Brigade (EEB) to the Park Hospital. All were treated for gastrointestinal problems. Two Animals remain in hospital, while the other five have returned to their abodes.
According to Inspector Konrad Eule, head of The Park’s Commercial Food Safety Bureau (CFSB), the Animals fell ill several hours after ingesting food served at the restaurant. Inspector Eule said his agency, which has close ties to The Park’s Department of Well-Being and Safety, is treating the incident as a food safety issue unless it uncovers evidence of suspicious or criminal activity.
“We are currently investigating with regard to food preparation and storage, but we have sent samples to the laboratory for testing and we are on alert for signs of tampering,” he said at a press conference held this morning. He dismissed rumours that chemicals were found in the food and criticized such statements as “inflammatory and, generally, unhelpful.”
At the press conference, the restaurant’s manager, Winifred D. Raccoon, reading from a prepared statement, said that the restaurant “values its clientele beyond measure” and will do everything in its power to ensure that its food is safe. The restaurant’s owner, Gilbert Bartholomew Ratte, was not available for comment.
Asked whether the incident would affect The Park’s upcoming food festivals and other celebrations, the Inspector said he did not believe there was any reason to delay any events “unless and until we receive results that would prompt such action.” He warned, however, that even though most food establishments adhere to The Park’s strict safety code, Animals should always be vigilant when eating away from home.