October 26, 2016

Fig & Olive and Chipotle Salmonella Outbreaks Not Uncommon

The Salmonella outbreaks at the Fig & Olive restaurant in Washington, D.C. and Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota are not uncommon. Just in the last year, there have been six other Salmonella outbreaks linked to restaurants in the United States. Contaminated cucumbers sold in salads at Red Lobster restaurants in Minnesota sickened many people with Salmonella infections this summer. A Salmonella outbreak linked to the deli at the Boise Co-op in Idaho this summer sickened almost 300 people.  A Salmonella outbreak at Seattle's Tallulah restaurant sickened at least 16 people in July, linked to a sauce made from raw eggs. An outbreak at the Tarheel Q restaurant in North Carolina in June and July sickened almost 200 people. A Salmonella outbreak at the X10 restaurant in Dalhart, Texas last … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning at Simi Valley Chipotle Strikes 77

At least 77 people who ate at a Simi Valley, California Chipotle last week got food poisoning, one of them was hospitalized. Health officials are investigating the outbreak that includes sixty customers and 17 employees. Symptoms of the illnesses, associated with food eaten on August 18 and August 19, include diarrhea, vomiting, chills and fever. The restaurant, on the 1200 block of Simi Town Center Way, was closed for one day last week while food was discarded and the restaurant was cleaned. Even after the cleaning health inspectors found some food safety violations including dirty restrooms;  unsanitary floors, walls ceilings; utensils and equipment that were not clean or not properly maintained and some workers who did not have valid food handler cards.  The violations did not … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak at Seattle’s Tallulah Restaurant Sickens 16

A Salmonella outbreak has been reported at Tallulah's restaurant in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, according to the Seattle Times. King County reports that about 200 to 300 Salmonella cases are reported every year. In this outbreak, at least 16 people were sickened. The outbreak occurred June 21, 2015; the restaurant is at 550 19th Avenue East in Seattle, Washington. Patients range in age from 4 to 71. Nine cases were confirmed; seven cases are probable. One person had to be hospitalized because of their illness. The illnesses were linked to crab and ham Eggs Benedict dishes, which were served with a sauce made from raw eggs. The menu had a warning label to inform customers that dishes made with raw or undercooked foods such as eggs could cause food poisoning. Restaurant … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak in 2013 Linked to Jouni Ground Beef

A Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak in 2013 was linked to ground beef produced by Jouni Meats and sold at Gab Halal Foods. At least 22 people in 6 states were sickened in this outbreak. Half of all ill persons interviewed were hospitalized, which is a very high number. Usually only about 20 to 25% of sick people are hospitalized with Salmonella infections. Fred Pritzker, a prominent food safety attorney who represents consumers sickened in these outbreaks said, "no company should produce, and no store should sell, any foods that contain enough pathogenic bacteria to make someone sick." The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea, chills, fever, headache, muscle pains, and blood in the stool. People usually get sick six to … [Read more...]

Restaurant Outbreaks: Not the Fault of Workers

The history of food safety, corporate irresponsibility, and workers’ rights is long and tortuous (as well as tortious). From the days of Upton Sinclair (rotten and diseased meat), unpasteurized and tuberculosis-laden milk, all the way through the present, the dangers of unsafe food have been compounded by improperly trained and poorly paid food workers. In fact, during my career as a food safety lawyer on behalf of people harmed by contaminated food, I can honestly say that only a few cases did not involve food workers who were insufficiently trained, poorly paid or both. That’s particularly true in the restaurant industry, especially in fast food restaurants. Employees of those establishments who are paid poorly, have few benefits and no pensions are time and time again implicated … [Read more...]

FoodBorne Chicago Uses Twitter to Track Illness, Find Offenders

Can Twitter be used to identify sources of food poisoning ? FoodBorne Chicago, found success with a trial run and now Boston and New York are considering similar programs. FoodBorne Chicago is a project of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic organization with the goal of using technology to improve the lives. Using an algorithm, FoodBorne Chicago tracked tweets originating from the Chicago area that mentioned food poisoning. During the 10-month study period, March 2013–January 2014,  2,241 tweets mentioning food poisoning originated from the Chicago metropolitan area. Of those, 270 described specific instances of food poisoning, eight of whom said they sought medical attention. Project staffers replied to these tweets saying "Help us prevent this and report where you ate here … [Read more...]

HUS Kidney Failure from Shredded Lettuce: The Federico’s Story

E. coli HUS patients from last summer's major E. coli O157:H7 restaurant outbreak are able to look back now with durable evidence that contaminated shredded lettuce caused their kidney failure. Records produced by the Maricopa County Departments of Public Health and Environmental Services explain in some detail how the E. coli food poisoning cases clustered among scores of people who dined at one Phoenix-area Federico's Mexican Restaurant. Foodborne outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 in restaurants can have devastating effects. What typically starts with fever may develop into full-blown hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) -- a disease that is particularly devastating in children, the elderly or others who have underdeveloped or weakened immune systems. In the Federico's outbreak, public health … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak At Proper Restaurant in Boone, NC

The Appalachian District Health Department is investigating a Salmonella outbreak associated with the Proper restaurant in Boone, North Carolina. As of Monday, June 9, 2014, there are 37 people with the signs and symptoms "consistent with Salmonellosis" according to public health officials. Seven of those people are confirmed cases. No one has ben hospitalized, and no one has died. The Health Department is asking anyone who ate or drank beverages at the Proper restaurant at 142 South Water Street on or after Saturday, May 17, 2014, and started having diarrhea within three days to call the department at 828-264-6635. After hours calls will be answered by on-call staff. The symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, … [Read more...]

Serving Up Norovirus, Restaurants are Most Common Source of Outbreaks

Norovirus causes more food poisoning outbreaks than any other pathogen and most of those outbreaks occur at restaurants, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Restaurants were the source of almost two thirds of all foodborne norovirus outbreaks between 2009 and 2012. The reason? Sick employees. About 70 percent of norovirus outbreaks at restaurants originate from a sick food worker.  Norovirus, which is highly contagious, is usually spread via the fecal-oral route, meaning an infected person didn't wash hands properly after using the restroom and then contaminated various surfaces or foods by touching them. The contaminated foods are then eaten by customers who become ill. This is how almost 20 million Americans contract norovirus every … [Read more...]

Lawyer Says Restaurant Responsible for E. coli O157 in Burger

At least 5 people in Michigan have been diagnosed with E. coli O157 after eating undercooked ground beef the last week of April. Three of them were hospitalized. The likely source of this outbreak is undercooked burgers and other menu items. One man told WOODTV that he ate a rare burger about 4 days before getting sick. The incubation period for E. coli is usually 3-4 days, so the time frame is right. "If a restaurant sells rare burgers, that burger should be safe to eat, free of any dangerous pathogens like E. coli O157," said Fred Pritzker, a lawyer who represents people sickened by E. coli food poisoning. He and attorney Brendan Flaherty won a $4.5 million settlement for a client who contracted an E. coli infection from steak sold at a national chain restaurant. She developed a … [Read more...]

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