Hornchurch: Woman Dies After Christmas Pub Meal

A woman's died of suspected food poisoning after eating a Christmas Day meal at a pub in Hornchurch.

The Health Protection Agency says 30 others have fallen ill after dining at the Railway Hotel on December 25th.

It's now investigating the cause of the illness and whether its linked to the food.

Dr Deborah Turbitt, director of the HPA's local Health Protection Unit, said: "Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time. We have been working with Environmental Health Officers at Havering Council to identify the cause of illness and any links to food eaten at the venue.

"The venue has been cooperating fully with our investigations.

"Clostridium perfringens bacteria are the third most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and this mostly occurs in relation to red meat or poultry. Indications suggest that this outbreak is an isolated event.

"People become unwell on average after about 12 hours of eating food contaminated with Clostridium perfringens, with diarrhoea and abdominal pain being the main symptoms.

"The illness generally lasts no more than a few days although vulnerable groups such as very young children, elderly people, and those with underlying health problems can be more seriously affected. It is rare for a person to die as a direct result of food poisoning."

People who become unwell with symptoms of food poisoning are advised to drink plenty of fluids and take rest at home. If symptoms are particularly severe or do not settle within two days then they should seek medical advice.

In a statement the owners of the Railway Hotel, Mitchells and Butlers, said: "We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family at this difficult time.

"The Local Authority, assisted by the Health Protection Agency, are currently investigating an alleged food poisoning outbreak at the Railway. 

"We are fully cooperating with the environmental health and Health Protection Agency teams while they conduct a thorough investigation; however until this investigation is complete we can't speculate about the possible cause or source."