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Holiday Hit Squad Target Unhygienic Hotels to Stop Illnesses

BBC One's programme 'Holiday Hit Squad' that aired last night showed presenters and health and safety experts explore some of the worst hotels abroad, showing viewers the horrors that may await them on their next holiday in the sun.

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Hotel da Aldeia in the Algarve

The Hotel da Aldeia in the Algarve was the first hotel to be visited by presenter Joe Crowley and Health and Safety expert Lisa Ackerley. Along with safety issues in the hotel, the pair discovered serious hygiene failings in the hotel swimming pool. Thick grime was pulled from the walls of the pool and the water was murky. Lisa Ackerley took a sample of swimming pool water for further testing.

The tests revealed that the chlorine levels in the pool were at 7, when in fact, it should be 150. Chlorine kills bacteria in swimming pools and with such a low reading, this pool could make a holidaymaker seriously ill if they were to ingest the water. Bacteria within swimming pool can often cause illnesses such as Cryptosporidium and Campylobacter, which can leave you with sickness, diarrhoea and fever. Joe Crowley said it was a "petri dish of a swimming pool".

Lisa Ackerley recommended to the hotel manager, Roberto, that he should use notice boards by the pool to record the pool temperature and regular PH and chlorine readings twice a day. This would reassure guests that the pool is hygienic and safe to swim in.

Hotel Neon in Malia

The second hotel, Hotel Neon in Malia, was visited by Health and Safety Inspector Simon Gregory. The biggest worry at the hotel was the hygiene standards in the kitchen. Simon took a swab of the kitchen work surfaces which gave a reading of 302. Simon goes on to explain that it should in fact be at a minimum of 30. This shows how dirty the kitchens can be in hotels, despite looking relatively clear of dirt and grime. If food were to be infected by the bacteria on that work surfaces, holidaymakers would most certainly contract some sort of food poisoning.

Simon then went on to take the temperature reading of the fridge. The recommended safe temperature of a fridge should be around 4 degrees Celsius or below. The fridge at the Hotel Neon measured an appalling 11 degrees Celsius. This is an unsafe temperature for food to be stored at. The government recommend that food should not be consumed if left at above 4 degrees for longer than 2 hours otherwise serious food poisoning could occur.

Do you have a right to claim compensation?

Many package holidays are on an all-inclusive board basis with food being served to hundreds of guests each day in hotels. With so many mouths to cater for, it is often a struggle for hotels to keep the kitchens and dining areas clean, hence why so many holidaymakers each year return home with food poisoning. However, this is no excuse.

When a holidaymaker suffers from food poisoning, and they did not eat outside the hotel, they may be able to claim compensation from their UK tour operator if they booked a package holiday. It is the tour operator's duty that a holidaymaker is kept safe on a holiday. And thanks to the 'Holiday Hit Squad' more people are becoming aware of what is not acceptable on a holiday.

If you have suffered an illness abroad why not get in touch with our Holiday Claims Experts to see if you could make a claim.

Dated: 07/02/2013