by Bill Chappell, The Salt at NPR Food (3/8/13)
Noma, the Danish eatery that has won fans with its innovative approach to Nordic cuisine, and won Restaurant magazine's "World's Best Restaurant" title the past three years, is getting some unwelcome press, after dozens of people who ate at the Copenhagen restaurant fell sick.
A formal review by Denmark's food agency, Fødevarestyrelsen, found that 67 diners suffered from nausea and diarrhea after contracting a norovirus at the restaurant between Feb. 12 and Feb. 16, reports The Copenhagen Post. In that period, 78 people ate at the small restaurant.
After the food agency found that members of the restaurant's staff had spread the illness to patrons, it issued an official warning to Noma. In a kitchen that was outfitted with exotic equipment such as a Pacojet (to make fine sorbets) and a Thermomix (to combine ingredients at specific temperatures), the Danish food agency found there was no hot water tap to let employees wash their hands properly.
Noma has not yet responded to the findings, but the Fødevarestyrelsen report mentions that the restaurant pledged to adopt better practices to disinfect its kitchen after an employee falls ill. It also called a plumber to add hot water to the wash basin used by employees.