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'It was a nightmare' - Whetstone pensioner speaks out about food standards
Pensioners who contracted a severe sickness bug while staying at an Egyptian hotel say more needs to be done to tackle food standards.
Marian Gersh and her partner Maurice Yates, from Whetstone, were taken ill while on holiday at the Hilton Sharks Bay Hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh in June 2009.
Instead of having the time of their lives, the holidaymakers were left appalled by standards at the four-star hotel which they say included cold recycled food in the buffet, dirty eating areas and disgusting hygiene practices by some staff, who were seen touching meats and salads without washing their hands.
It was not long before the pair caught a sickness bug - and three years later Ms Gersh still suffers with related symptoms.
Ms Gersh, 68, said: “We couldn’t believe the staff member’s attitudes to hygiene and we heard lots of other guests saying they were suffering sickness and stomach upsets.
“We had only been there two days when I fell ill and then five days after that Maurice became poorly too. It was a nightmare. We were so ill that we could hardly leave our hotel room because we wanted to be near our bathroom and felt as though we had no energy.
“The holiday was absolutely ruined but to top it off, some of my symptoms have continued ever since and I’ve had to take medication for it.”
Marian has recently been awarded £10,750 and Maurice £5,000 from Cosmos, part of a group settlement of over £30,000 for the couple and two other holidaymakers.
International travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell representing the couple say the case should highlight the need for tour operators and hotels to ensure food hygiene standards are being followed.
Jatinder Paul, an international travel law expert at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This is now the fourth consecutive year that we have been asked to help guests who have complained of substandard hygiene practices at this hotel.
“The fact that one of our clients still suffers symptoms which impact on her day-to-day life is serious and should highlight to all the importance of good health and hygiene practices to keep holidaymakers safe.”
A spokeswoman for Cosmos said: "Cosmos Holidays takes any customer complaint of this nature very seriously and a full investigation was carried out at the hotel.
"The tour operator works closely with all of its hotels to ensure that hygiene and safety requirements are met.”