SHERBROOKE -- Police in a Quebec town are investigating a young restaurant employee for criminal negligence over a plate of salmon tartare served to a severely allergic client in May that left the man hospitalized for weeks.

Sherbrooke police say a man ordered beef tartare at a local restaurant, Le Tapageur, and specified numerous times to a waiter that he was allergic to both seafood and salmon.

A short time later, police say a plate of salmon tartare was brought to the table and the patron, Simon-Pierre Canuel, took a bite, unaware of what he'd been served because the lighting had been dimmed.

Canuel fell ill and was hospitalized for several weeks, even falling into a coma for two days and suffering cardiac arrest.

Martin Carrier of the Sherbrooke Police says he realizes the case is an unusual one, but notes the definition of criminal negligence in the Criminal Code allows for an arrest if there was carelessness or lack of action to ensure the health and safety of others.

Carrier says the waiter allegedly didn't take any notes and the victim repeatedly warned the staffer about the allergy to ensure there wasn't any cross-contamination in the kitchen.

Carrier said Thursday that police arrested a 22-year-old and released him on a promise to appear in court at a later date.

They also searched his home on Wednesday in Sherbrooke, about 150 kilometres east of Montreal.

Police are recommending a criminal negligence charge, but Carrier says it will be up to Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions to determine whether charges will be laid.

Sherbrooke police opened an investigation on July 28 after receiving a formal complaint.