Balliol students have been advised to avoid “midnight feasts” from nearby burger vans following several cases of food poisoning in the college.
One second year Economics and Management student allegedly contracted the stomach bug from a fast food burger van on Broad Street.
Following an investigation into other potential sources of the bug, Balliol Domestic Bursar Jo Roadknight warned students of the potential dangers of the vans in an email:
“The College Nurse has expressed serious concern following another confirmed case of campylobacter food poisoning at Balliol, the source of which has been traced to a local on-street fast food trader. Symptoms of this bacterial illness usually continue for a week. The Health Protection Agency are investigating; both meat and non-meat dishes can be infected.
“Whilst we appreciate that these traders are a convenient and tempting source of midnight feasts,” Roadknight added, “all college nurses have noted a very strong correlation between eating at them and consequent food poisoning. We therefore ADVISE ALL STUDENTS, PARTICULARLY THOSE SITTING EXAMS, to avoid food purchased from local street traders.”
But not all students have been deterred from nocturnal foraging on George Street.
One Balliol student said: “To be honest, I think there is an element of alarmism going on here. There have been cases in the past when the nurse has, in the opinion of some students, overreacted quite a bit. I remember one of my friends going to see her about a cut he had on his finger; she sent him to hospital. It wasn’t a particularly deep cut, and needless to say he was quite surprised. When he eventually got to the hospital, they sent him back to College right away.”
A Balliol first year added: “She has overreacted in the past, but I don’t think you can ever be too careful when it comes to food poisoning. I’m going to keep away from those vans for now, just in case.”
Another said: “Look at it this way: McDonalds is the new Hassan’s.”
Students quickly circulated Roadknight’s email around other nearby colleges following the scare. However some students remain defiant about their late night vice, with one first year Classicist considering the burger van products a “risk worth taking”.
He added: “I have neither prelims nor finals in the coming weeks, so for me the risk of contracting a dodgy stomach from munching out at one of the vans is a price I’m more than willing to pay. I’d rather quit smoking than quit Hassan’s.”