External caterer brings Cholera to wedding!

Cholera in Casa de Campo La Romana? YES and NO. The cases of Cholera food poisoning recently reported in the news were contracted within the compound of Casa de Campo, HOWEVER the food responsible for the outbreak was brought into Casa de Campo by an outside caterer.

Here you can read Casa de Campo’s official press release about the outbreak:

Casa de Campo Resort and its real estate division, Costasur Dominicana in La Romana, Dominican Republic, deeply regret the food poisoning / cholera cases that recently occurred during an exclusive wedding party in a private villa residence within our resort. However, we must point out that all of the services related to this event were absolutely not provided by Casa de Campo or any of its facilities. All of the food, drinks, ice and other provisions were directly contracted to an outside catering company by the party’s hosts.

Before the holiday season (mid-December 2010), in addition to Casa de Campo’s recent investment of US$40 million in renovations, we inaugurated all new kitchen facilities and food storing areas at a cost of more than US$12 million, following the highest hygiene and quality guidelines set forth by the most demanding international standards from companies such as Safe Serve and Cristal.

We would like to reiterate to our villa owners, guests and clients that they can continue with confidence to maintain the trust they have given us through the years, while at the same time, we again, express our concern for those who were affected by this situation.

So what REALLY happened?
On Saturday the 22nd of January, a Venezuelan wedding took place in a PRIVATE  villa in Casa de Campo. This grand wedding celebration had more than 400 guests and an enormous purpose built stage overlooking the Dye Fore golf course – a very lavish celebration, almost no expensive was spared….! During the festivities, guests dined on food which, had been brought into Casa de Campo with an outside catering service – nothing to do with Casa de Campo. This outside catering service and the weddings hosts brought in EVERYTHING; the water, ice, drinks and all the food and other provisions. Unfortunately, it seems that this outside catering service and their suppliers (which we will not name, but will stay away from in the future), may have decided to cut some corners on the hygiene front - the suppliers of the outside catering service apparently sourced the lobster from the Pedernales area of the Dominican Republic. A very bad decision, perhaps to save a few bucks – but at what cost? The lobster from Pedernales was allegedly infected with the highly contagious disease of Cholera – not surprising considering that Pedernales happens to border Haiti, which as we all know is recently suffering from a very bad outbreak of the disease. What is worse, is that having obtained lobster from this area (a very risky move), this OUTSIDE caterer perhaps then chose to cut another corner – the lobster was apparently NOT pre-cooked as is recommended by the Dominican Public Health Services to prevent the transmission of Cholera. Seemingly another very bad decision.

THE RESULT: More than 50 cases of Cholera have now been diagnosed after this private wedding that took place at a private villa within Casa de Campo.

FACTS:

  • The outside caterer brought Cholera into Casa de Campo.
  • NO other cases of Cholera have been reported in Casa de Campo.
  • Casa de Campo did not provide ANY food, ice, water or any other provisions for this wedding.
  • Casa de Campo has spent over 12million dollars renovating it’s kitchen and food storage facilities.
  • Casa de Campo does not take short cuts with food hygeine and safety.
  • Casa de Campo does not source food from Pedernales or any other area known to be contaminated with Cholera
  • Since the outbreak of Cholera in Haiti, Casa de Campo has sourced ALL it’s vegetables from the United States.
  • When food arrives to the Casa de Campo food storage facility it is washed even before it is stored, it is then washed before it leaves storage and is then washed a third time in the restaurant before it is served.
  • There are currently NO cases of Cholera in Casa de Campo – ALL infected persons have been transported out of the complex to prevent further spread of the disease.

The moral of this sad story?
Don’t cut corners on food hygiene! Casa de Campo is an excellent caterer that adheres to the strictest health and safety standards, but of course they are not the only ones – good outside caterers do also exist. Be safe – when planning an event or party be sure to investigate the qualifications, hygiene standards and food sourcing of any caterer thoroughly before you hire them.