May 26, 2018

Denver Rescue Mission Outbreak Allegedly Caused by Improper Food Handling

The Denver Department of Environmental Health has found that the outbreak at the Denver Rescue Mission last month was caused by improper food temperatures and hygienic practices. The outbreak, which began on July 22, 2012, sickened at least 60 people.

Denver Environmental Health (DEH) food safety investigators and Denver Public Health (DPH) Epidemiological staff investigated the outbreak. They observed and inspected the Denver Rescue Mission’s facilities, interviewed patients and those who did not become ill, and conducted lab tests. The source of the outbreak was Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on smoked turkey. The turkey was insufficiently cooled and re-heated, and proper hygiene practices were not followed.

Abby Davidson, Environmental Public Health Food Supervisor, said, “we have no reason to believe it was anything other than an isolated incident where organizational practices in handling of the food were not followed. These practices were documented and immediately corrected by the Denver Rescue Mission’s leadership and staff.”

The final report on the outbreak will not be issued for several weeks. Meanwhile, Denver Rescue Mission is conducting public health training quarters for the staff beginning August 8. Food handling, cooling, and heating practices will be stressed in the training sessions. They are also hiring more staff to ensure food safety measures are followed.

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