November 18, 2017

Chicken & Rice Guys E. coli Outbreak: CA County Launches Food Truck Safety Campaign

An E. coli outbreak that may involve Chicken & Rice Guys food trucks in Boston, Massachusetts in April 2017 sickened at least 14 people. Those sickened ate either at the Chicken & Rice Guys restaurants or at one of the five food trucks the company operates in the Boston area. According to the last report about this outbreak, ten of the 14 sickened were hospitalized because they were so sick.

Food Truck

Now, across the country in Kern County, CA, Kern County Public Health Services is launching a new food safety awareness campaign that focuses on mobile food vendors. It’s called “Safe Eats on Kern Streets,” and the plan is to inform consumers about food truck safety.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented people sickened in food truck outbreaks, said, “this type of food poisoning is preventable.” Call 1-888-377-8900.

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who is representing clients sickened in the Chicken & Rice Guys outbreak said, “food trucks must follow the same laws and regulations regarding food safety that restaurants must follow. The truck must be clean, food must be kept at a safe temperature, foods have to be cooked to a safe final temperature, and potentially hazardous foods must be kept separate from foods that are sold uncooked.”

The news release from Kern County stresses that point: all facilities that sell food to the public must obtain a health permit. Inspectors from the county’s Environmental Health Division perform regular inspections at all permitted food facilities. This helps ensure that food is prepared and handled safely so people don’t get sick.

Matt Constantine, Public Health Services Director, said that this campaign is necessary because there is an increase in “the number of vendors and complexity of food being sold from the street in an unsanitary manner.”

And, in fact, there was a Salmonella outbreak in April 2016 in Kern county that was linked to soft Mexican cheese that was being sold illegally. At least fifty people were sickened in that outbreak across California with three different strains of Salmonella bacteria.

Every food vendor in Kern County must display a health permit. Restaurants have a letter grade posted in their window, and mobile food vendors have a sticker. If you don’t see a permit or a sticker, don’t eat food sold by that vendor. You can report the vendor who is selling food without a sticker to the Environmental Health Division in Kern County by using the Safe Diner app.

 

 

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