May 24, 2024

Tacos El Guero Food Truck Outbreak in WA Sickens 34

A Tacos El Guero food truck outbreak in Kirkland, Washington has sickened at least 34 people, according to the Seattle King County Health Department. Officials do not yet know the exact food or drink that caused these illnesses. The outbreak is associated with a private event that was catered by a Tacos El Guero food truck on September 14, 2023. No patients were hospitalized.

Tacos El Guero Food Truck Outbreak in WA Sickens 34

The 34 patients developed one or more symptoms that are consistent with a bacterial toxin infection, including abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Illness onset dates range from September 14, 2023 to September 15, 2023. In the news release about the outbreak, information about Bacillus cereus and Clostridium perfringens, two pathogens that cause symptoms quickly after infection, was provided.

The exact food and drink that caused the illnesses have not been identified. And the Health Department does not have laboratory testing for the people who got sick, so they do not know what pathogen made them sick. These illnesses are usually short-lived, and by the time people see a doctor, it’s too late to test. In addition, the food or drink that caused illnesses are usually discarded by the time public health officials are involved in an outbreak investigation.

On September 15, 2023, a group reported the outbreak to Public Health after eating together the day before. Environmental health investigators visited the mobile truck and the restaurant, which is located at 14130 Juanita Drive NE #101 in Kirkland, on September 18, 2023.

Investigators found potential risk factors for bacterial toxin growth at the restaurant, including inadequate refrigeration and improper cooking of food. If food is not heated to a safe final internal temperature, bacteria can survive and will grow. And if food isn’t properly refrigerated after being cooked, bacteria can grow and produce toxins that may not be destroyed by heat.

Inspectors also found inadequate equipment, improper reheating, and lack of managerial oversight during their visit to the restaurant. Food at the event was served out of an unpermitted food truck.

Corrective actions were discussed at the time that inspectors visited the food truck and restaurant. Based on unsafe food handling practices, environmental health investigators closed the restaurant on September 18, 2023. The facility will be revisited to ensure that safe food handling practices are being followed before the restaurant will be allowed to reopen.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a food poisoning infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, food trucks, and food processors.

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