Woman who died after eating at Michelin-starred restaurant choked on own vomit

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A preliminary report has revealed the cause of death of the 46-year-old woman, who, along with 28 other people, became ill after a meal at the Valencia establishment RiFF.

The 46-year-old woman who died after eating a meal with her family in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Valencia, eastern Spain, choked on her own vomit. That’s according to a provisional report on the death from the region’s Institute of Legal Medicine, sources familiar with the investigation have told the press. However, the cause of death is not yet definitive, given that investigators are waiting for toxicology reports.

A total of 29 people – including the victim and her husband and 12-year-old son – were left with food poisoning after eating at RiFF between February 13 and 19. However, none became seriously ill and for the most part suffered light symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting.

The victim had eaten at the venue, which has one Michelin star, on Saturday, December 16. Hours later, all three members of the family had symptoms of food poisoning, including diarrhea and vomiting. The mother was particularly ill, and died in her home in the early hours of Sunday morning, despite the attempts of an ambulance crew to revive her.

Early theories as to the cause of the food poisoning pointed to morel mushrooms that were included on the restaurant’s tasting menu, but this is still yet to be confirmed.

On Thursday, the chef at RiFF, German Bernd Knöller, denied rumors that the establishment had purchased the mushrooms from China, as certain media outlets had reported, and explained that they had been sourced instead from a distributor in León, “as many other restaurants in Spain do,” he added.

The chef also explained that RiFF was closed “not for legal reasons, but on our own accord, and will continue to be shut until the health department concludes its investigation on the origin of the intoxication.”