October 21, 2018

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Brent’s Deli in California

Deli CounterA Salmonella Montevideo outbreak linked to Brent’s Deli in Westlake Village, California sickened at least 21 people last year, but was never reported in the media. Two employees of the restaurant were sickened along with 19 customers. Eight people were hospitalized.

Most of the patients became ill between April and August, 2014. The California Department of Public Health, the Ventura County Health Department, the FDA, and the CDC have not made any information public about this outbreak.

A food poisoning outbreak is defined as two unrelated persons being sickened with the same bacterial strain. Since ten times that many people were sickened in this outbreak, and the Salmonella strain is relatively rare, there is no reason why this outbreak was not announced to the public.

Inspection reports from the Ventura County Environmental Health Division in July found violations of food safety codes and laws at the deli. An inspection on July 9, 2014 in the Bar Section of the restaurant found violations in equipment sanitation, equipment maintenance, and utensil washing and sanitation.

More specifically, the July 9, 2014 inspection report states that “equipment is unclean and maintained in an unsanitary condition.” Another report states “food storage or food holding equipment is inoperable or in disrepair.” Inspectors also found that “the sanitizer solution for manual sanitation is not maintained at the required concentration,” and “the sanitizing solution for storage of wiping cloths used repeatedly to wipe food contact surfaces is not maintained at the required concentration.” More violations for improper hot-holding and thawing of food were found. A follow-up inspection stated “previous violations corrected.”

The restaurant was also inspected on August 11, 2014. The restaurant closed August 12, 2014 for deep cleaning and employee food safety training. A final inspection on September 12, 2014 showed no violations.

Before those inspection, the restaurant was last inspected in February 2013 and more violations were found. Hand washing facilities were unclean, and the warm water supply temperature was too low.

Since two employees tested positive for the bacteria, and hand washing equipment was not maintained, the food could have been contaminated. Cross-contamination is also a possibility, since food was not handled properly and sanitizing solutions weren’t properly maintained.

Salmonella bacteria grow rapidly in food that is improperly held at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F or improperly thawed. Salmonella bacteria are also easily transferred from contaminated surfaces to food if not properly cleaned.

If you ate at Brent’s Deli last summer and have experienced the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning, please see your doctor. The complications of a Salmonella infection can be lifelong, including reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Salmonellosis symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains, and blood in the stool.

 

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