April 22, 2018

Los Chilangos Had Expired Permit During E. coli Outbreak

Los Chilangos had an expired food service permit at the time it was linked to an E. coli outbreak that sickened 10 people and hospitalized three including a 4-year-old girl with HUS kidney failure.  Those who became ill ate food from Los Chilangos food trucks while attending the Issaquah and Sammamish farmers markets in Washington state on August 8th and August 12th, 2015.

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Taqueria Los Chilangos uses shared kitchen space at Eastside Commercial Kitchen and operates two food trucks serving seven farmers markets in King and Snohomish counties.

Health department documents show Los Chilangos was operating with an expired food permit at the time of the outbreak and did not have a spotless food safety record prior to the outbreak.

Each Los Chilangos truck has had three inspections this year.  Of the six inspections, only two were satisfactory.

One truck had two “satisfactory” inspections on June 17 and July 28 and one “unsatisfactory” inspection on January 20 for inadequate handwashing facilities. The second truck had three “unsatisfactory” inspections this year -on March 12, June 17 and August 28. All of them received that rating for the same reason: cold food was not being held at proper temperatures. This is considered a “critical” food violation because bacteria grows rapidly in food stored or held at improper temperatures.

E coli bacteriaA 4-year-old girl is one of the three people hospitalized in this outbreak. For 10 days, she has been at Seattle Children’s Hospital battling kidney failure from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening complication of E. coli infections.

Health officials briefly closed both food trucks during their initial investigation. They were cleared to reopen after: paying for a permit, discarding all food, washing and sanitizing all equipment, completing an inspection of the shared  kitchen space, reviewing food safety measures with employees and agreeing to prevent employees who are sick from working. So far, none of the employees has tested positive for E. coli.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe abdominal cramps, bloody and watery diarrhea, and a mild fever. Symptoms usually begin a few days after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria.

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