Lawyers are preparing legal action after a Canberra restaurant was shut down when nearly two dozen people said they were ill after eating there. One was hospitalised.
In October, ACT Health ordered the closure of the Turkish Pide House on Lawry Place in Macquarie.
ACT Health said that six separate groups had reported getting sick after eating food there on or before Monday, 9 October. They ranged in age from under 10 years old to over 80 years old.
Now the restaurant faces what could be very expensive legal action.
The legal firm Slater and Gordon said it would take on "viable" cases on behalf of those who were ill.
"If people feel they've got a case, they can call us ... for an initial consultation at no cost," a Slater Gordon spokesperson said. They could also get in touch via the lawyers' website, she said.
A spokesman for the restaurant owners wasn't aware of the proposal to prepare legal action. He said the plight of the restaurant owners was bad: "They are getting desperate over this. It's not a good situation."
The law firm said that customers who became sick could be entitled to compensation "for pain and suffering" even if they had recovered completely.
"Thankfully, most people who contract food poisoning will most likely to make a full recovery and are not left with any permanent impairment, however, a claim can still be made for compensation even in those cases," the firm's senior public liability and medical negligence lawyer Liam Casey said.
"Food poisoning is an awful illness to experience and can lead to other related health complications. I have seen severe cases arising from previous outbreaks in the ACT involving salmonella, where our clients have had lengthy periods of time off work and mounting medical expenses from ongoing symptoms," the lawyer said.
Mr Casey said consumers would need to prove that they had contracted food poisoning from eating food from the shop under investigation by the ACT Health. That proof could be a receipt or a bank statement.
Turkish Pide House on Lawry Place in Macquarie closed on October 12. Nearly two months later, its website says: "This place is not taking orders right now."
ACT Health said when it closed: "Symptoms varied and included diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, fever and abdominal pain. One person was hospitalised".
Inspectors said they found breaches of the Food Act 2001 when they visited on October 12. They issued a prohibition order to the business.
A man who asked to remain anonymous told The Canberra Times at the time that he'd had to go to hospital after eating there on October 5.
He said he had eaten a mixed grill lamb and chicken kebab cutlet and kofta with vegetables, rice and salad.
The man in his 50s said he and his partner were unwell for two days.
Medical notes seen by The Canberra Times confirmed that he was admitted to a hospital emergency department with a temperature of more than 38.5 degrees. He was diagnosed with gastroenteritis.
The man said that he had seen unrefrigerated raw meat on skewers stored in the open next to a hot grill.
The restaurant must pass another inspection by ACT Health before it can reopen.