A HAMPSHIRE restaurant has closed amid a mass outbreak of food poisoning.
More than 30 people have fallen ill with salmonella since eating at The Real China in Eastleigh, including a three-year-old child.
Now the town centre restaurant has closed voluntarily while Eastleigh Borough Council’s environmental health team investigates.
It has been unable to pinpoint the source of the outbreak but took action because all cases involved people who had eaten at the restaurant.
It will remain shut until the council and Public Health England are satisfied that there is no longer a risk to health.
One mum made a complaint after her three-year-old daughter, husband and father-in-law all displayed symptoms after a night at the restaurant in Wells Place.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “My three-year-old has been ill since Saturday night and if she was any younger or less healthy I think she would have been in hospital. My husband and father-in-law were also affected and have recovered.
“I feel that this restaurant chain needs to be made accountable for its actions. It’s just been a horrible time for us and for other families in the area.
“Food poisoning is nasty but even worse in the heat too.”
Several scathing reviews have also been left on websites, including Tripadvisor, where angry customers gave the restaurant a one-star rating and warned others to avoid the premises.
A council spokesman said: “Our environmental health team is carrying out an ongoing investigation into the outbreak in conjunction with Public Health England.
“Our main priority at this time is to protect public health.
“We are carrying out a thorough investigation to try to identify any possible causes and ensure that these are rectified.
“We are also contacting people who have caught the illness to find out more about their food history.”
The council confirmed that the restaurant would undergo deep cleaning while its food handling and preparation routines would also be reviewed.
But it is unknown if any food has been destroyed.
It is the second time that a branch of Real China has closed in the south this year, after its Poole restaurant shut in March over hygiene complaints. An investigation uncovered dirty food preparation areas, blocked drains, substandard equipment and unsafe food handling.
Eastleigh Borough Council has traced the outbreak back to July 11 and is appealing for anyone who has eaten there and is suffering from food poisoning symptoms to contact commercial team leader Helen Parsons on 023 8068 8329.
The chain has more than 20 restaurants across the UK, although the Eastleigh location is the only one in Hampshire.
Despite repeated attempts by the Daily Echo to contact the company, no one responded to our request for a comment.