October 3, 2022

Minnesota Enjoins Fay’s Homestyle Catering After Outbreak

The state of Minnesota has filed a compliant to enjoin Fay’s Homestyle Catering LLC, preventing that company from operating as a food and beverage service establishment to protect the public health. The complaint was filed on September 13, 2o22 in the District Court of the State of Minnesota, Ramsey County.

Minnesota Enjoins Fay's Homestyle Catering After Outbreak

The complaint alleges that the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is investigating a large foodborne outbreak that occurred in White Bear Lake on August 27, 2022. That agency has a “high degree of confidence” that Fay’s Homestyle Catering prepared and served the food that led to the outbreak.

Doug Schultz, Information Officer for the Minnesota Department of Health, told Food Poisoning Bulletin that “We can confirm that we are investigating a private event catered by that caterer, but it is an on-going investigation, so we are not able to provide further details at this time.”

According to the compliant, MDH uncovered violations of Minnesota regulations that apply to food and beverage service establishments and has taken regulatory action, which includes issuing a cease and desist order for 72 hours.

According to the defendant’s license, the only location where they can cook and prepare food, is at the Kitchen on the Bluff, at 705 East 3rd Street in St. Paul, Minnesota.

On August 27, 2022, the event, which was attended by more than 200 people, was catered by Fay’s Homestyle Catering. The food included roast beef, chicken, and various side dishes.

Starting on September 3, 2022, MDH received calls and voice mails on its hotline for reporting Foodborne illness. During the investigation, an organizer of the event said that about 100 guests had gotten sick. Illness symptoms included diarrhea. Some guests apparently reported that the food was told and that the roast beef “tasted odd.”

The owner of the catering company was told on or before September 2, 2022 about the illnesses. Fay Scott, the owner, did not notify MDH of the complaints and the outbreak as required by law.

State health investigators have gathered information from 41 attendees through an electronic survey and interviews. Of those 41 guests, 14 meet the definition of a case, meaning they experienced diarrhea and/or vomiting. All of the cases ate the roast beef.

An environmental health investigation was also conducted. Kitchen on the Bluff was contacted, and told MDH that there is no record of the company preparing food at that kitchen for the August 27 event.

When MDH contacted Fay Scott, the owner of the catering company, she was allegedly “dismissive” about the complaints and said she prepared the food on the Kitchen on the Bluff address and had contacted them about using the space. Kitchen on the Bluff denied they had been contacted by her and also denied she used their space to prepare food. Kitchen on the Bluff told MDH that it would terminate its agreement with Fay’s Homestyle Catering.

According to the complaint, MDH has a high degree of confidence that the catered event led to a very large outbreak caused by Clostridium perfringens, a pathogen that is often associated with large events and improperly stored and reheated food. MDH also maintains that the outbreak was preventable.

And that catering company is associated with or implicated in two outbreaks that occurred in 20o9 and 2013, according to the complaint. Those outbreaks involved similar issues of improper temperature and timing procedures.  The first was at a convention at Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul, and the second outbreak was at a private homecoming picnic for faulty, staff, and alumni at the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota.

The Commissioner of Health will make a final decision on this matter after a review of the record.

By submitting a comment, you are contacting Pritzker Hageman, P.A. An attorney may contact you to ask if you would like a free consultation regarding your foodborne illness.

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