A MasterChef Episode Filming Left 40+ Guest Diners With Food Poisoning

In what may become an embarrassment of epic proportions, 44 people who sampled food prepared during the filming of an episode of MasterChef Spain contracted food poisoning. The episode, which aired on April 10 on the Spanish channel RTVE, was filmed on January 19. Reports of the mass food poisoning went relatively unnoticed for months until folks stumbled on the Twitter thread of someone who attended the filming and contracted food poisoning and shared her experience.

According to Spanish News Today, a woman identified only as Irene (who has since made her account private) posted four times about her experience, claiming that at least half of the estimated 70 guests who sampled the food during filming contracted food poisoning. She captioned one group photo, "All with gastroenteritis the following night. And I had to go to [the ER] to get a shot of Primperan injected in my bum to stop vomiting. I lost 5 kilos in three days."

In another post, she revealed the reason she decided to go public with the experience, writing, "Public health officials called us to investigate what had happened, but nothing came of it. I am writing this here because they haven't even had the decency to apologize to us."

Was seafood the culprit?

According to Euro Weekly News, the episode filmed at the Oceanografic Centre in Valencia, Spain, split contestants into two groups and challenged them to cook a menu designed by Rakel Cernicharo, a restaurant owner and 2017 winner of "Top Chef Spain." The Mediterranean-Indian seafood fusion menu consisted of oysters, clams, mussels, sea bass, and Japanese cheesecake with algae.

Following the Twitter revelation, Shine Iberia, the producer of "MasterChef Spain," issued a statement that said, "We are very sorry for the indisposition expressed by some of the diners who attended. This is an absolutely exceptional case in 11 years of MasterChef where the program has an absolute priority to guarantee the food care of the people involved." According to Food Safety News, producers provided local health authorities with information about the food used in the challenge, but due to the lack of actual food samples from the challenge, officials were not able to identify the source of the bacteria that caused the food poisoning. 

The case is now in the hands of the Ministry of Health in Madrid.