July 23, 2024

Google FINDER Search May Pinpoint Restaurants Associated with Food Poisoning Outbreaks

Google and Harvard University have developed a new method for identifying restaurants that may be the source of food poisoning outbreaks much more quickly than traditional methods. The method is called FINDER (Foodborne IllNess DEtector in Real time), which uses web search and location data. Most food poisoning outbreaks are linked to restaurants and delis. Traditionally, foodborne illness outbreaks are investigated after people go to the doctor when they are sick. Officials then interview those patients to see if there is a common denominator in what they ate or where they ate before they got sick. Or officials are alerted to a potential outbreak through PulseNet, which is an aggregate of bacterial DNA taken from ill persons and categorized. What is FINDER? FINDER is actually … [Read more...]

Tarheel Q Salmonella Outbreak Case Total Now 248; One Dead

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, there are 248 people in 6 states sickened with a "diarrheal illness" after eating at the Tarheel Q restaurant in Lexington, North Carolina. Those symptoms are consistent with a Salmonella infection. This data is current as of July 1, 2015. Most of those sickened live in Davidson and Davie counties. Lab testing indicates that a BBQ sample and a sample from a patient who got sick at the beginning of this outbreak are both positive for Salmonella Typhimurium. Both samples have the same PFGE pattern. More than 50 additional clinical specimens are at the state lab, waiting results. The food that contained the bacteria may have been improperly cooked, may have been contaminated after cooking through … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak at X10 Restaurant in Dalhart TX Sickens 64

The Texas State Health Department states that there are 64 confirmed cases of Salmonella food poisoning in Dalhart, most from the X10 Texas Wood Fired Grill restaurant (otherwise known as 10 in Texas). Twelve additional cases have been reported since the restaurant voluntarily closed after illnesses were reported. Food poisoning attorney Fred Pritzker, who underwrites Food Poisoning Bulletin and has won millions for injured clients, said, "Most large food poisoning outbreaks are tied to restaurants. Unfortunately, many food workers do not get paid sick leave and are not properly trained in food safety skills by management. Outbreaks such as this one are not uncommon." Another full inspection has been conducted by public health officials since the outbreak was first announced. The … [Read more...]

Rosa’s Restaurant Cited with Violations Before Hepatitis A Warning

Before a Rosa's Restaurant employee was diagnosed with Hepatitis A last month, the facility was cited for handwashing violations. The violations were for employees not washing their hands in a timely manner, workers not performing proper handwashing, and the business not providing paper towel for the handwashing facilities. Other employees were observed making food with their bare hands, which is a food safety violation. At least four Hamilton area New Jersey residents developed Hepatitis A; they ate at the restaurant during the time the ill employee worked there, but officials aren't sure if the cases are directly linked to the restaurant. The restaurant was closed and cleaned after an employee told the owners he had been diagnosed with the disease. Public health officials have … [Read more...]

California Will Require Paid Sick Leave for Restaurant Workers

The state of California may require paid sick leave for workers, which directly ties into food safety in restaurants. Legislation has been passed and Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign it. AB 1522, the Health Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 passed the state Senate with a 22-8 vote and the Assembly with a 52-25 vote. Restaurant workers who work while sick have caused many foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States. A study by the Food Chain Workers Alliance in 2012 found that more than half of all workers in the food industry work while they are sick because they cannot afford to take time off. In 2013, a study by the Environmental Health Specialists Network, a collaborative project of the CDC, FDA, and USDA, found that sick worker policies "may be an important … [Read more...]

Sick Food Workers are Recipe for an Outbreak

A study published in the Journal of Food Protection looked at food worker experiences with and beliefs about working while ill. Sick food workers are an important cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S. The FDA recommends that anyone who is suffering from vomiting or diarrhea be excluded from work. The study interviewed 491 food workers from 391 randomly selected restaurants in nine states that participated in the Environmental Health Specialists Network of the CDC. The results are startling: almost 60% of workers went to work while they were ill. And 20% worked while they were ill with vomiting or diarrhea. The factors that kept them at work were concerns about job loss, leaving coworkers short staffed, and job responsibilities. The Minnesota Health Department has concluded … [Read more...]

What Causes Restaurant Outbreaks? Sick Employees.

A study published in the Journal of Food Protection looked at restaurant outbreaks in the United States and what the cases of these illnesses are. More than half of all foodborne illness outbreaks reported every year in this country are associated with eating in restaurants. Scientists studied the restaurant outbreaks in the United States during the years 2006 and 2007 as reported to FoodNet (Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network). Of the 457 outbreaks reported in 2006 and 2007, 300, or 66%, were restaurant associated. Of those, 98%, or 295, had at least one reported contributing factor, that is, a food safety violation that may have contributed to the outbreak. Of the 257 outbreaks with one single contributing factor, 64% were associated with food worker health and hygiene. … [Read more...]

Lawyer Represents Victim of Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Hacienda Don Villo in Channahon, Illinois

A Salmonella outbreak was declared after people started getting sick after eating at Hacienda Don Villo, a Mexican restaurant in Channahon, Illinois.shortly after eating in mid-September and required several hospital visits. Over 34 people have complained of stomach pain after eating at the restaurant, according to Philip Jass, Health Administrator with the Grundy County Health Department. The county has completed the first round of Salmonella testing on employees of the restaurant. One employee tested positive for Salmonella poisoning. Restaurants are legally responsible for illnesses linked to their food. Whether the food was contaminated prior to reaching the restaurant or at the restaurant does not change their duty to provide safe food. The county is also having stool samples … [Read more...]

Hacienda Don Villo Linked to Salmonella Outbreak in Illinois

Hacienda Don Villo, a restaurant in Channahon, Illinois, may be the source of an outbreak of Salmonella poisoning in Grundy County. It is not yet known what food item served at the restaurant was contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.  Osterholm said in some outbreaks linked to restaurants, it’s not possible to identify the precise food product responsible for the illnesses.  If the contaminated product was produce, there is often none left to test by the time illnesses are reported to the health department. Also, if a person who was sickened had, for example, tacos, the adulterated product that caused illness could have been the lettuce, tomatoes, meat or an ingredient in the salsa. Even if health officials can’t say for sure which product was responsible, outbreak victims may still … [Read more...]

Burma Superstar E. coli Outbreak Probed in San Francisco

At least 14 people have been sickened in San Francisco with E. coli O157:H7, including nine who ate at the popular Burma Superstar restaurant in the Inner Richmond neighborhood earlier this month. The E. coli outbreak, now under investigation by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and California Department of Public Health, prompted owner Desmond Tan to close the establishment for Labor Day weekend. At least one person has been hospitalized with kidney failure from a life-threatening complication of toxic E. coli infection known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS. According to health department records, the investigation was first announced earlier this week with a public health alert that eight cases of presumptive Escherichia coli O157 had been reported, with one … [Read more...]

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