Kebab shop horror as takeaway leaves 50 people ill and 11 in hospital with food poisoning

Sami Abdullah, left, and Hassan Saritag leaving court
-Credit: (Image: Conor Gogarty)

Two men have admitted criminal offences after a food poisoning outbreak from their kebab shop led to 11 people being hospitalised. Sami Abdullah and Hassan Saritag were responsible for a contamination at Abergavenny's Marmaris Kebab House which saw more than 50 people fall ill.

Abdullah, the takeaway's director, and his associate Saritag appeared at Newport Magistrates' Court on Wednesday and both pleaded guilty to placing unsafe food on the market, failing to put in place food safety procedures, and failing to register new owners at the business. The outbreak happened in February 2023 when more than 50 people became unwell — and 11 of those victims were hospitalised — after eating "contaminated food" from the Cross Street kebab shop, said a Monmouthshire council spokesman.

He added that a "wide-ranging" investigation by council officers was able to "positively link" the infections to Marmaris after expert advice from Public Health Wales. At the time of the outbreak Public Health Wales said it was aware of "an increase in cases of gastrointestinal illness" in Abergavenny believed to be caused by the shigella infection. The health agency described shigella as an intestinal infection, adding: "It is not life-threatening, although in some cases it may result in hospitalisation, but symptoms usually clear up within four to five days."

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The council spokesman said: "Further offences for failing to register new owners at the business and failing to maintain a suitable food safety management system also resulted in guilty pleas. The business is now under new ownership."

Saritag, 38, of Cross Street in Abergavenny, and Abdullah, 46, of Richmond Road in Cwmbran, were told off by District Judge Sophie Toms for speaking in the dock during their court appearance, but it then emerged that Saritag had been translating so his fellow defendant could understand what was being said in court. The case was adjourned to September and a note was made for a Kurdish interpreter to be booked.

Shortly after the outbreak, one person told WalesOnline their family and friends had been through "horrendous sickness" after contracting shigella following a visit to the takeaway on Friday, February 10 last year. They said: "My relatives became incredibly sick on the following Sunday and Monday with symptoms persisting through to the mid-week for one and late week for the other. Symptoms included some vomiting, fevers, terrible stomach cramps and blood in their diarrhoea."