September 30, 2016

Sewage on the Restaurant Kitchen Floor and Other Gross Food News

If you had to make a list of things you wouldn't want to see in a restaurant kitchen, it's a good bet that some of them are included in this month's edition of the Neews, food safety stories that put the eew in news, including one contender that may not have initially sprung to mind: sewage. Sewage coming up through the floor drains was one of the 53 food safety violations that health inspectors found at China Pearl in St Peterburg, Fla., according to WTSP News. Other violations included: employees not washing their hands and touching ready-to-eat foods when not wearing gloves, a stench wafting from the restroom, temperature violations, food in the handwashing sink, uncovered bins of food on the floor, and more than 300 rodent droppings. Inspectors made a visit to the restaurant … [Read more...]

CSPI Says Restaurants Pose Twice the Risk of Foodborne Outbreaks

Outbreak data analyzed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says that Americans are twice as likely to get food poisoning from restaurants than from food prepared at home. The review, which covers outbreaks from 2002 through 2011, is titled "Outbreak Alert! 2014". The worst outbreaks of that decade included a Campylobacter outbreak linked to pasteurized milk served to inmates at the California State Prisons. That sickened 1,644 people. In April 2008, Salmonella contaminated jalapeños and Serrano peppers and pepper products sickened 1,535 people in 42 states. And in 2011, Listeria-contamianted cantaloupe produced by Jensen Farms sickened 148 people in 28 states. Overall, 1,610 outbreaks linked to restaurants sickened more than 28,000 people. In that same tie frame, … [Read more...]

Eating At the Mall? You Might Want to Bring Wet Wipes

Everyone has eaten at food courts in shopping malls. They're convenient places to grab a quick bite to eat. The food might not be gourmet, but it's usually pretty good. But have you ever wondered about the food safety at food court dining establishments? When I was younger, my mom would always have wet wipes in her purse, and she wiped down the tables before we sat down to eat. Turns out she was ahead of her time. A new study published in Epidemiology and Infection has found that the food court at shopping malls are a potential transfer point for pathogenic microbes. Bacteria was found on tables and on the cleaning cloths used on them. The bacteria on the cloths was pathogenic, and was found on the tables, suggesting cross-contamination. In other words, the rags and cloths used to … [Read more...]

Florida Passes Bill Prohibiting Required Paid Employee Sick Leave

In a blow to food safety in restaurants, Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott signed HB 655 that takes effect July 1, 2013. The law bans local governments from requiring that companies give employees paid sick time. As Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you before, lack of paid sick leave can cause food poisoning outbreaks. While states do have laws requiring that sick employees do not handle food, many workers will come to work anyway because they need the money. Restaurant employees are usually paid low wages and receive almost no benefits. And a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that ill food handlers are to blame for most norovirus outbreaks in this country and 65% of the food poisoning outbreaks at restaurants. In just the last month, foodborne illness … [Read more...]

Bar-B-Q Shack Not The Only E. coli Outbreak in 2013

Most E. coli outbreaks in the United States are linked to contaminated products that are distributed nationwide, such as the illnesses linked to Farm Rich frozen snack products. But some outbreaks have been linked to specific restaurants. There are currently two E. coli outbreaks associated with restaurants: the Bar-B-Q Shack outbreak in Toccoa, Georgia and the Coco Loco restaurant in College Station, Texas. In both of those current outbreaks, victims have been hospitalized and some have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication of an E. coli infection that can lead to kidney failure. Surprisingly, these are not the only E. coli restaurant outbreaks this year. Since January, there have been two other E. coli outbreaks associated with restaurants. In March 2013, an … [Read more...]

High Hampton Inn, NC Employee Tests Positive for Hepatitis A

An employee at the High Hampton Inn restaurant in Cashiers, North Carolina has tested positive for Hepatitis A. Anyone who ate at that restaurant on April 26, 27, 28, 29, or May 1, 2013 may have been exposed to the virus. Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver. Symptoms of an infection include loss of appetite, fever, abdominal pain, headache, vomiting, jaundice, nausea, tiredness, and dark urine. Not everyone who harbors the virus exhibits symptoms. It is spread by fecal-oral transmission, through food, drink, and contact. If left untreated, the infection can cause permanent liver damage, especially if the patient has pre-existing liver conditions. Public heath officials are investigating this case. Anyone who ate at the restaurant on the above dates should contact their … [Read more...]

Patrons of Papa Murphy’s in Chubbuck, Idaho at Risk for Hepatitis A

The Southeastern Idaho Public Health Department released a statement today stating that the patrons of Papa Murphy's in Chubbuck, Idaho may have been exposed to Hepatitis A in April. An employee from the restaurant was diagnosed with the disease on May 2, 2013. There is no evidence of a Hepatitis A outbreak at this time. Public health officials are recommending that anyone who is not immune to Hepatitis A and ate uncooked food (such as salad, uncooked pizza toppings, or uncooked cookie dough) from Papa Murphy's on April 19, 20 or 21 receive a Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG) immediately. In addition, anyone who ate uncooked food from Papa Murphy's from April 6 to April 18, 2013 should contact their doctor if they are exhibiting any symptoms of Hepatitis A. A vaccine is too … [Read more...]

North Park Deli in California Reopens After Closure for Norovirus

Contra Costa County environmental health officials in California closed the North Park Deli in Concord last week for norovirus. Two employees tested positive for the virus. Public health officials started investigating the restaurants after 48 people who ate food at an event catered by the deli became ill. The restaurant reopened February 1, 2013 after a thorough cleaning. According to KTVU.com, the county's environmental health department director Marilyn Underwood said the catered event was held at a local biotech company. Those who were sickened "ate common food, at a common place so we came to the North Park deli and talked with the employees there, suspecting one of them had come to work sick. We found that one had come to work sick to their stomach and had worked that day," she … [Read more...]

More Salmonella Cases Linked to On the Border Restaurant in Vancouver WA

The outbreak of Salmonella linked to the Mexican restaurant On the Border in Vancouver Washington has grown. Now at least 21 cases are confirmed, and 55 cases are suspected according to the Clark County Public Health Department. The restaurant is closed pending the investigation and the outcome of lab reports. The people who are sick reported eating at the restaurant between September 20 and October 9, 2012. Since food that was served during that time period has been discarded, it has been difficult to find the source of the bacteria. Attorney Elliot Olsen, who has filed lawsuits for clients in similar situations, said, "If you ate at that restaurant and are ill or have been ill, see your doctor immediately. Long term complications from a Salmonella infection can be severe." Dr. Alan … [Read more...]

Chicago Public Health Inspector Who Took Bribes Heads To Prison

A retired Chicago public health inspector who took almost $100,000 in bribes was sentenced to two and half years in federal prison last week. Maryanne Koll who taught food service sanitation classes and administered state certifications is alleged to have accepted at least $96,930 in bribes in exchange for fraudulently arranging to provide 531 people with certifications as food sanitations managers. Koll, 69, who operated Kollmar Food Safety Institute from her home in Burr Ridge, Ill., was convicted of one count of bribery conspiracy in federal court in September 2011. U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber sentenced her to 30 months in prison and ordered her to begin serving the sentence on Dec. 31, 2012. llinois state law requires that all food service establishments have someone on … [Read more...]

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