October 27, 2016

At Least 70 Sickened in Suspected Fig & Olive Salmonella Outbreak

At least 70 people are sick in the Salmonella outbreak associated with the Fig & Olive restaurant in Washington, D.C. The restaurant, which is part of a New-York based chain, is located in CityCenterDC. All 70 patients reported that they ate or drank at the Fig & Olive restaurant before getting sick.

Restaurant photoThe Washington D.C. Department of Health is closed today, September 15, 2015, so we were unable to contact anyone regarding this outbreak. The restaurant is closed while investigators collect samples and try to figure out the problem. There is no word on whether the outbreak was caused by a contaminated food item, a sick worker, or cross-contamination or a problem in the kitchen. Several environmental and food samples have returned negative, so more testing is taking place this week.

Fig & Olive issued this notice about the closure: “We are continuing to make progress on testing and re-testing our products and procedures and sanitizing our facility from top to bottom. We are working with both the Department of Health and with third-party food safety company we retained. It is premature to discuss any findings at this time but we are working hard to re-open soon.”

Noted food safety attorney Fred Pritzker said, “restaurants have a legal responsibility to serve safe and wholesome food to the public. No one should suffer a serious illness simply because they went out to eat. Something went very wrong to cause an outbreak that has sickened dozens of people.”

There is also a Salmonella Newport outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota, and a multistate Salmonella Poona outbreak linked to imported slicer cucumbers that is ongoing. Salmonella outbreaks in the past have been linked to chicken, bean sprouts, tomatoes, and other produce. The Chipotle and Fig & Olive outbreaks have not been solved. Public health officials continue to investigate both clusters of illness.

The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea that may be bloody, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, muscle aches, and headache. These symptoms usually begin six to seventy-two hours after exposure to the bacteria.

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While most people do get better within a few days, some, especially the elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems become so ill they must be hospitalized. In the Salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers, two people have died.

If you ate at the Fig & Olive restaurant in Washington D.C., or at any Chipotle restaurant in Minnesota, and have been suffering from the symptoms of a Salmonella food poisoning infection, see your doctor. This infection can have long term serious consequences for your health, even if you recover without medical intervention.

A Salmonella infection can lead to Reiter’s Syndrome, which can cause reactive arthritis and eye problems. Or it can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, or heart problems and high blood pressure. Your doctor should know about any Salmonella infections you may have had to keep an eye on your health.


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