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Holiday Illness Complaint

Could poor food handling practices be responsible for holiday illness at the Excellence El Carmen?

Senior Holiday Claims Specialist - James Blower

Dated: 1st November 2016

You would hope that by staying in a recently opened hotel there would be little that could go wrong, but at the Excellence El Carmen, this may not be the case. While a few guests have heaped praise on the newly opened Dominican Republic hotel, some guests have commented on an altogether different experience.

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Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic

The Excellence El Carmen recently opened its doors in the autumn of this year and is advertised to British tourists by UK tour operator Thomas Cook on an all-inclusive basis. Located in the popular Uvero Alto resort of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, this newly opened hotel appears to be experiencing teething problems, some of which may have resulted in guests suffering a holiday illness.

Holidaymakers say they have suffered debilitating illness

Reviews for the Excellence El Carmen appear to be mixed, with many reviewers praising the Dom Rep hotel in great length on review sites such as TripAdvisor, but there are several reviewers who have highlighted some problems and commented on bad experiences, including the following holidaymakers who say they were exposed to health hazards:

'Tallgr68' says that she witnessed "broken tiles in the pools, and grout missing" at the Excellence El Carmen, which has been "only open for 1 month". She commented that "the food was terrible" and she believes there were "food handling and unclean water issues", as in addition to suffering symptoms, she says that other guests "were having the same "running to the toilet" issue". One possible cause that she highlighted was that "the food was out in the open and there were bad fly problems".

'Michael M' stayed at the Excellence El Carmen with his wife for their "Honeymoon in September" and he says that they experienced "brown water, leaks [and] electrical problems" in their room, and he continues to say that the "food was inedible". He adds that they suffered from "food poisoning three days into the trip" and received the eye-opening advice that he "should go to the hospital or fly home" otherwise he could "have a heart attack".

'TravelChick7887' had a number of complaints about the standard of the recently opened resort when she stayed there in October, saying that the "[air-conditioning] in the room was leaking" and there were "water stains everywhere". She adds that they "got food poisoning the first night and [were] sick the rest of the trip."

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Why food poisoning may be responsible

One of the main causes of food poisoning can be poor quality produce. Produce that has been obtained from questionable sources may have been prepared in unsanitary conditions or exposed to harmful bacteria or parasites, or even grown in an unsuitable environment. Some pathogens require additional steps to the usual HACCP processes, and while you might feel that if you become unwell this is the fault of the produce supplier, if you were on an all-inclusive package holiday, it's possible that your tour operator is to blame.

Mistakes made by the catering team can be more difficult to forgive, as many of these can be avoided by following basic hygiene processes and standards. Simple mistakes such as serving meals that haven't been adequately cooked, subjected to cross-contamination during preparation, or been allowed to reach unsafe temperatures before or after cooking can cause food poisoning pathogens such as E. coli O157, Salmonella and Campylobacter to manifest.

Safe food temperatures

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Swarms of flies could be to blame

Flies are a scourge on tourists; capable of spreading diseases quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, it appears that some hoteliers are taking advantage of the indifference that some holidaymakers have towards these winged menaces, and subsequently aren't taking steps to deter them from dining areas. Some easy ways to prevent flies from making hotel guests sick include installing bug zappers and simply ensuring that meals that have yet to be served remain covered.

Faulty air-conditioners can spread Legionnaires' disease

Air-conditioning units are usually considered essential by British tourists when travelling to countries with hot climates, but if they're incorrectly installed or not properly maintained, they can spread disease. One such holiday illness they can spread is Legionnaires' disease, which can form in excess moisture in an air-conditioner and be spread in tiny water droplets in the air.

Legionnaires' disease can result in holiday ruining symptoms such as symptoms of pneumonia, including a persistent cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. You may also suffer a cough that produces sputum or phlegm, chest pains, lethargy, a loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea, as well as the possibility of skin conditions.

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Claim holiday compensation today

If you've suffered an illness that could have been prevented while on a package holiday at an all-inclusive hotel such as the Excellence El Carmen, then under The Package Travel Regulations 1992 you might be able to claim compensation. It only takes a few minutes to find out if you can claim, so don't delay and contact one of our travel law specialists to find out if you could make a 'no win no fee' holiday compensation claim today.

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Contact us about your holiday illness claim

To find out more about claiming compensation for illness at the Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic; call us on 0808 145 1353 or complete our enquiry form and we will call you back.

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