July 16, 2018

Sick Workers May Have Played a Role in Firefly Salmonella Outbreak

The Salmonella outbreak associated with the popular, Las Vegas tapas restaurant Firefly may have been caused by the most common source of food poisoning outbreaks associated with restaurants – sick workers. Sick employees cause 65 percent of food poisoning outbreaks at restaurants and workers touching food with bare hands cause 35 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Restaurant KitchenAt least 89 people have been sickened in the Salmonella outbreak associated with Firefly. The restaurant has been temporarily closed to minimize the public health threat while the investigation is underway. Three of the 40 Firefly employees scheduled to work on April 26 told investigators that they had been ill with gastrointestinal symptoms.  And health inspectors found a number of violations that could have contributed to the outbreak including “inadequate holding of food, inadequate cooling, improper hand washing, employee bare hand contact with ready to eat food, improper food storage practices, improper cleaning practices, and improper thawing of food,” according to the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD).

SNHD made several recommendations to the owners of Firefly including: restricting any employees who test positive for Salmonella from returning to work until they are approved by the health officials; educating employees should about how Salmonella is transmitted and “the heightened importance of hand hygiene through washing with soap and water;” and educating food service workers on how to clean and sanitize food preparation surfaces.

Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning include diarrhea which can sometimes be bloody, vomiting and abdominal cramps. Food service workers experiencing these symptoms should not report for work, according to health officials.

 

 

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