Food poisoning in 44 participants of the MasterChef program

by Lorraine Williamson

MADRID A privilege to enjoy an exclusive meal during the recording of the MasterChef talent show in Valencia, or so the participants must have thought. Unfortunately, something went wrong and 44 participants in Valencia contracted food poisoning. 

They were to taste the dishes prepared by the competing chefs for a test recording of TVE’s television program MasterChef in Valencia. However, in the end, 44 participants contracted food poisoning. This was confirmed by the Ministry of Health of the Region of Valencia. 

The recording of the show for cooking talents, which is very popular in Spain, took place on January 19 at the aquarium Oceanogràfic in Valencia. But it was only after last Sunday’s broadcast that one of the participants reported on Twitter that she had contracted symptoms of gastroenteritis. Like other fellow participants, this Oceanogràfic employee had to go to the emergency room. 

“Thank you ‘Masterchef’ for the worst dining experience I’ve ever had in my life,” she said. And adding that the company had informed those in charge of the program about what had happened and that health authorities were also aware.

“Lost 10 pounds in three days” 

In a publication in which she posts a photo of her and her colleagues sitting at the table during the program, this employee confirms that they all had gastroenteritis: “The next night I had to go to A&E and was given an injection of Primperan to stop vomiting”. “I lost 10 pounds in three days,” she added. The contestant denounced the fact that since January “they haven’t even had the decency” to apologise.” The Ministry of Health confirmed to Europa Press last Tuesday that 44 of the 70 participants present were affected by food poisoning. 

ASSSA - health insurance in Spain

The producer regrets 

In turn, the producer of the program, Shine Iberia, has issued a statement saying they are sorry for what happened. “From MasterChef, we are very sorry that some of the guests who attended the Valencia shooting felt bad”. The program management did indicate at the time that they had been in constant contact with the victims via Oceanogràfic since they were personnel of the company. 

An “absolutely exceptional” case 

Shine Iberia emphasises that this is an “absolutely exceptional case in these 11 years of MasterChef in Spain. With the program, it is an absolute priority to guarantee the food care of the people involved.” 

They add that “the food has been analysed back to the source with positive results. Moreover, traceability throughout the process has been ensured. This was also reported and documented to the competent health authorities when we became aware of the facts.” 

What was on the menu? 

But what menu was served? The dishes that the aspirants for the title of ‘best chef in Spain’ presented to their audience were: A journey to India through the starter with Valencian clotxina as main ingredients. That is a dish made with mango and spices from Indian cuisine. Oyster, mussel, romesco sauce and pesto based on algae were served as a second starter. This was followed by a Thai sea bass Suquet, a stew with coconut, dates and peanuts. Dessert was a Japanese cheesecake with seaweed. 

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