The Fig & Olive restaurant in Washington DC’s City Center reopened yesterday after a six-day closure triggered by a Salmonella outbreak. But two items associated with the outbreak have been removed from the menu: truffle fries and mushroom croquettes.
Health officials say they are confident that the restaurant no longer poses a health risk. The restaurant has been sanitized, employees debriefed, food discarded and problematic menu items have been retired.
But for many customers, those changes came too late. The DC Department of Health (DOH) says ten cases of Salmonella infection have been confirmed and another 150 cases from five states are being investigated. Those states have not been named.
Health officials say anyone who ate at the restaurant and developed symptoms of a Salmonella infection including fever, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea that may have been bloody, should see a doctor and mention possible Salmonella exposure. A stool culture can confirm an infection and determine if it it part of the outbreak.
Salmonella lives in the intestines of animals and causes infection when food contaminated with microscopic amounts of fecal matter is ingested. The contamination can occur in the growing fields, during slaughter or if an infected food handler shows up for work. People with Salmonella infections can still spread disease up to three days after symptoms resolve.
Restaurants are the most common setting for food poisoning outbreaks. In Minnesota, 10 cases of Salmonella poisoning have been linked to contaminated cucumbers served at Red Lobster restaurants.
That child and 417 others are part of the cucumber Salmonella outbreak that includes 31 states.
Three strains of Salmonella Poona are associated with that outbreak which has been linked to cucumber grown in Mexico and distributed in the U.S. by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.
Also in Minnesota, a Salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes served at Chipotle restaurants has sickened at least 64 people.