Omnivore - 'Hello, I'd like to let you know your food is killing me'

To tell or not to tell?


  • http://www.medimanage.com

I received this email from a reader today:

I recently had a meal at one of the city's high-end establishments and ended up with food poisoning (I think). I don't mean to disgust you, but after dinner, every twenty minutes for the next 5 hours were spent in the restroom. I believe the culprit to be either the Kyomoto oysters or the Berkshire pork belly (high-end shit - pardon my pun). I'm not looking for a handout from the restaurant but just want to warn them of the potential risk of serving "my pain" to another guest. So my question to you is when is it appropriate to contact the restaurant and tell them of the incident? And would they take me seriously? What if anything would they do?

I've written about this a few times. I don't call a restaurant and accuse it of poisoning me unless someone dining with me also gets sick. But even then, most chefs and owners go nuts. I use to presume they would want to know, so they could investigate and take appropriate action. But, no — nobody has ever reacted in a concerned way. However, I do know that after the outburst of rage, a few did investigate.

I get gastrointestinal bugs frequently, I'm sorry to say. I consider it an occupational hazard.