Mr Rick’s Catering, the source of a Salmonella outbreak in Washington state, operated for years without a permit, ignoring health department warnings to stop doing so even after being fined. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department named Mr Rick’s in a warning it issued about the importance of choosing a caterer with a permit to operate. The event was attended by as many as 175 people, but not all of them are sick.
The health department “has notified Mr. Rick’s Catering not to operate several times since 2012, and as a result of the incident in Snohomish County, recently issued a $710 fee for continuing to operate without a permit. In the interest of protecting public health, and because the business owner continues to advertise as a viable business, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has opted to name the unpermitted caterer,” the warning reads.
Hiring a caterer with a permit is one way to reduce the risk of food poisoning, Tacoma-Pierce health officials said. Doing so, you are hiring a company that employs staff that is trained in food safety handling; uses an approved, regularly inspected kitchen and has the proper equipment to safely prepare, transport and serve food.
“As in other industries, hiring those without the proper permits may save a little money. But the potential costs of foodborne illness when an unpermitted, unsafe caterer serves food puts people at great risk—of getting sick, time lost from work, and worse. For the very young, elderly and immune compromised, some foodborne illnesses can result in death,” the warning states.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. Anyone who attended the event in Snohomish County and develops these symptoms should see a doctor and mention possible exposure to Salmonella.