Statement on the reports about the Mensa Hardenbergstraße

studierendenWERK BERLIN has had the complaints of 6 July 2022 investigated and the results are now available.

On the evening of 06 July 2022, the studierendenWERK BERLIN received information via the social platforms Instagram and Twitter that some canteen guests complained of nausea after eating the vegan noodle casserole in the TU Hardenbergstraße canteen.

We have asked all those affected to contact us. A total of 45 people came forward reporting health complaints of varying degrees of severity. They all ate the noodle casserole exclusively. People who have eaten other dishes in this canteen have not had any complaints.

As is customary in the catering industry, so-called retention samples are taken from every meal sold. In order to be able to determine the cause of the complaints, we commissioned an examination of the reserve sample of the noodle casserole on 07 July 2022 at the Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene of the Free University. In addition, the Department of Veterinary and Food Supervision of the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf District Office was called in, who took the second reserve sample for examination on 08 July 2022.

The studierendenWERK BERLIN deeply regrets this incident. We assure our guests that we always adhere to the strict rules of the gastronomic HACCP regulations. The results of the investigation by the Free University have been available since 11 July and confirm this. It shows that the microbiological and sensory examinations carried out could not find any evidence that the contents of the pasta casserole were the cause of a food infection. The district office also confirmed that "the laboratory results of the reserve samples to be examined are without abnormalities and there are therefore no complaints" (email of 19 July 2022).

This is initially good news, but it does not explain the complaints reported back by our guests. We take these very seriously. Internally, we have intensively searched for triggers for the reported intolerances. We are taking the incident as an opportunity to critically and in detail examine the preparation processes and adjust them accordingly. After all, it cannot be completely ruled out that the preparation process (e.g. cooking time, sequence, etc.) triggered the observed intolerances. We will thoroughly check the recipe and the processes, the vegan noodle casserole will no longer be available in the refectory for the time being. Those affected have been informed accordingly and have been offered a small compensation for the inconvenience they have suffered.

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