Holiday Claims
Holiday Claims

Couple Receive £13,000 Compensation for Thomas Cook Food Poisoning Complaint

A couple from Leeds whose holiday to the Smartline Colour Beach Hotel in Egypt was spoilt following a bout of severe gastric illness have received substantial compensation from Thomas Cook.

The UK’s 2nd largest tour operator admitted liability for the poor hygiene standards endured by Mr & Mrs England during their holiday and agreed to pay them £6,500 each in damages.

Food Poisoning at the Smartline Colour Beach

Simon Lomax, Simpson Millar’s Holiday Illness manager said, "The medical evidence we obtained from an independent consultant gastroenterologist suggested that poor hygiene practices were the cause of an outbreak of infective gastroenteritis at the hotel. We suspected food poisoning from a bacterial source at the very outset of the claims process."

For bacterial food poisoning to happen, the following sequence of events must occur:

  • Initial contamination of the food supplied with bacteria, e.g. Salmonella
  • The food supplies all the nutrients that the bacteria require for growth (such bacteria is plentiful in eggs, meat, chicken and seafood);
  • The temperature of the food must be sufficient to allow growth (5 - 60°C is the danger zone);
  • Sufficient time has to elapse for the bacteria to multiply to reach the infective dose; and
  • The victim consumes the contaminated food.

Our clients noted numerous hygiene failings at the hotel and the attitude of the management at the Smartline Colour Beach was appalling.

Serious Hygiene Concerns Reported

Our client said, "My husband and I aren’t big eaters, which was good as the food there was awful. Not only did it taste bad, but it was normally cold and uncovered."

"One time I cut into some chicken to find that blood was inside. Afterwards I heard a lot of people complaining about their chicken. While talking to the manager he was trying to keep them quiet as he didn’t want others to hear what they were saying."

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Thomas Cook Complaints

Allegations of improper performance of the contract were put to Thomas Cook

"However, these obvious issues should not have occurred in the first places and one must ask the question, are the holiday company's Rep's trained to look out for hygiene issues?"

My clients were very ill and suffered badly as a consequence of food poisoning. Describing her gastric illness, one of my client's said, “I was very nauseous and had stomach cramps that were very strong and would come in waves similar to labour pains. At the same time I had awful diarrhoea which, like my husband, meant that I spent a lot of time on the toilet."

Representatives Need to be Educated in Food Poisoning Prevention

"A number of times we complained to the Thomas Cook rep, but she wasn’t helpful in the slightest. She said what we had was due to being in hot conditions and advised us to have plenty to drink", my clients.

Simon suggests, "With a large proportion of UK family income being spent on all inclusive holidays, tour operators should focus on hygiene, and ensure the hotels they contract with have a greater understanding of the dangers of improperly handled, stored and prepared food."

"The additional cost of implementing high standards would surely be offset by fewer compensation claims and a better reputation allowing them to compete for market share with the cheaper no frills market."

"Failure to provide reasonable safe hotels will inevitably lead to large compensation payment, sometimes these payments reach well over 10 times the cost of the holiday itself, as was the case here."

Services levels as Simpson Millar were described as "being of a very high standard," and my client added , "Everything was explained to me in a clear manner and I was kept informed of the progress."

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