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Egypt – Stay Safe on Holiday

Simpson Millar Solicitors specialise in helping holidaymakers who are struck by Salmonella food poisoning while on holiday in Egypt to claim compensation from their UK tour operators.

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Every year hundreds of holidaymakers contact the firm’s Travel Law Team reporting illness contracted during holidays abroad and frequently taken in Egypt.

In most cases the cause of illness is food poisoning and usually Salmonella. In 2008 a study of 23,332 holiday makers concluded that Egypt was the leading Salmonella hotspot followed by Turkey and Thailand.

When travelling this summer there are practical steps you can take to reduce the risk of food poisoning in Egypt and your holiday becoming a holiday from hell.

Before allowing your family to eat foods supplied at your hotel check out the hotel’s dining areas. Look for simple clues that will guide you to whether the hotel is well run and care taken to ensure that food is safe to eat. Ask yourself basic questions;

  • Is the food served piping hot? – Harmful bacteria can be killed by ensuring food is adequately hot
  • Is the meat cooked through? – Undercooking meats such as pork, chicken and beef will not kill bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and E-coli
  • Do the dining room and kitchen staff appear clean? Hotel staff who do not practice safe food handling techniques can spread germs and bugs such as noroviruses and Shigella
  • Is the cutlery and crockery clean and free from stains? Dirty plates and dring vessels mean germs!
  • Are insects able to contaminate the food? Flies carry disease and feast on faecal matter which is transferred as they contaminate surfaces
  • If you notice wild birds flying around the hotel’s dining areas be careful of the foods and surfaces. Birds may appear attractive and novel but they carry disease and their faecal matter can carry the Campylobacter bacterial infection
  • Does the food appear to have been reused? For example foods served at lunch then served later in a sauce?

Simple practices you may not even consider are often sources of contamination.

Holiday Hotel Watch

For example, bread is often displayed in loaves for people to slice themselves. Ask yourself before cutting a slice; has anyone touched the loaf with their bare hands?

Meats – it goes without saying that undercooked meat should be avoided. Pink chicken or undercooked burgers are the cause of many ruined holidays.

Eggs – Salmonella thrives on the shells of eggs and so food handlers must take great care to ensure that the shells do not contaminate the eggs or other foods. Avoid eating runny eggs that appear slightly undercooked

Salads - Whilst the salad may appear well presented and crisp caution should be exercised unless there is clear evidence that the salad has been washed in purified water.

Similarly – exercise caution with shellfish. Unless the shellfish has been harvested from clean waters there is no guarantee that the food will be free from unpleasant bacteria. Never eat shellfish harvested from waters where there is pollution through sewage.

Whilst it is easy to provide advice that seems commonsense our experience is that people do drop their guard on holiday and simply assume that the hotel and their tour operator have taken every step to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Don’t be a victim this summer – keep your family safe and remember your holiday for the right reasons.

Dated: 14/05/2012

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