10 sick and yes, we know you take food safety very seriously: Another outbreak in richie rich part of Kansas

Health officials said Tuesday they are investigating reports of a gastrointestinal illness that has sickened at least 10 people who visited the Buffalo Wild Wings grill and bar at 7030 W. 105th St. in Overland Park last week.

buffalo.wild.wingsThe cause and source of the illness haven’t been determined, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment said. Health officials are awaiting results of laboratory tests that may identify the illness.

The health department began receiving reports Friday from people who became ill beginning Thursday. Students from the Shawnee Mission School District were among the people who reported illness.

Reported symptoms included vomiting and diarrhea, “symptoms that can be attributed to a lot of things,” said health department spokeswoman Barbara Mitchell.

The Johnson County health department is working on the investigation with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the city of Overland Park.

In response to the illnesses, the Agriculture Department inspected the restaurant Saturday and found 17 code violations. Among them: An employee was observed wiping his nose with the back of a gloved hand and then returning to the work area without washing his hands or changing gloves. Several bottles of liquor in the bar area contained small dead insects. Cooking utensils contained dried bits of cabbage, onion and other food debris. Boxed dinner napkins were stored on the floor of an employee restroom.

“We take food safety very seriously, and following a report Saturday of potential illness by the health department, we decided to close the Overland Park restaurant to allow for a third-party vendor to conduct a thorough cleaning,” a spokeswoman for the Buffalo Wild Wings corporate office said in a statement.

Over 600 sick in Kansas Norovirus outbreak

A suburban Kansas City dinner theater has spent $40,000 cleaning up after a norovirus outbreak sickened more than 600 people.

norovirus-2And that’s supposed to impress?

Where’s the empathy? Where’s the lost wages? Where’s the commitment to food safety?

So far during KDHE’s investigation, more than 600 individuals have reported illness. A majority of these reports were from people who attended the New Theatre Restaurant between Friday, Jan. 15 and Tuesday, Jan. 19. KDHE has not received any reports of people becoming ill who attended New Theatre after Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Probably noro: Cheektowaga steakhouse reopens after scrubdowns

As a kid growing up with Buffalo-based TV and Commander Tom, the only thing I knew about Cheektowaga was that there was usually a 2-alarm fire.

Dog_dies__firefighter_injured_in_Cheekto_0_28841641_ver1.0_640_480The LongHorn Steakhouse in Cheektowaga, NY, which closed Wednesday after some employees and customers became ill, reopened Thursday evening under the scrutiny of the Erie County Department of Health.

According to Dr. Gale R. Burstein, county health commissioner, “We didn’t find anything that caused us to be suspicious or to believe the illness was a result of unsafe food-handling practices.” Inspectors said no major food violations were found during their inspection and that employees were wearing gloves and practicing good hand washing.

While the source of the illnesses has not precisely been pinned down, Burstein said the highly contagious norovirus seems most likely. Symptoms, including stomach and intestinal inflammation resulting in vomiting and diarrhea, usually develop within 12 to 48 hours of ingesting tainted food. In extreme cases, death can occur.

The LongHorn, located at 2015 Walden Avenue, is part of the Darden Restaurants company that also owns the Olive Garden and five other brands. A Darden spokesman said the Cheektowaga venue underwent two sanitizing sessions after the closing. “The health and safety of our guests and team members is our top priority, which is why we took the additional step of voluntarily closing our restaurant,” the restaurant said in a statement.

‘Food safety is very very important’ 390 sick after attending Kansas dinner theater

Nearly 400 people have reported feeling ill after recently dining at a suburban Kansas City dinner theater, with some testing positive for norovirus, health officials said on Thursday.

norovirus-2The diners who fell ill had eaten at the New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas since Jan. 15, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said in a news release.

 “Food safety is very important to us,” said theater vice president Rob McGraw. “We are inspected regularly and it is very, very important to us.”

According to the Department of Agriculture, a follow-up inspection at the theater three days after the outbreak found nine violations, including an employee who handed a tray of raw chicken with gloved hands and then handled a pan of fried chicken.


Fancy food ain’t safe food, over 100 sickened: Overland Park dinner theater edition

Ah, Overland Park, the Richie Rich part of Kansas City.

Given that norovirus has about a six-hour onset, maybe those rich folk should demand a quicker public notification than 10 days, with over 100 people sick.

New Theater Restaurant in Overland ParkThe Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment are looking into an outbreak of norovirus infection among people who became ill after attending a performance at the New Theater Restaurant in Overland Park earlier this month.

More than 100 people who attended one of the two performances on Jan. 17 have reported illnesses, and four have laboratory specimens to confirm norovirus.

50 sick: Seattle restaurant closed after suspected noro outbreak

JoNel Aleccia of The Seattle Times reports that health officials have closed Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant in Bellevue while they investigate a suspected outbreak of norovirus food poisoning that may have sickened as many as 50 people at a private event.

godfather.rest.sceneOne or more people may already have been ill at the Jan. 18 event, officials with Public Health — Seattle & King County reported Tuesday.

Several workers at the restaurant at 10455 N.E. Eighth St. in Bellevue also were ill with symptoms consistent with norovirus. No lab tests have confirmed that the illnesses are norovirus, but tests may be pending, officials said.

Canadians go to Cuban resorts and report getting sick

In 2004 I visited the Dominican Republic, a popular Caribbean destination for Canadians attempting to escape the winter cold, wet and grey. Dani and I took advantage of her spring break and Millennium Scholarship (probably not what they were meant for) and spent a week sitting on the beach, eating buffets and playing scrabble.

It was pretty fun.100B8930

My food paranoia was focused on ice cubes, foods held at the wrong temperature and fresh fruits and vegetables. I don’t think I ate anything that wasn’t fried and stuck to beer all week. Dani wasn’t nearly as ridiculous as I was (she rarely is) and she tried lots of stuff.

The week was a success; not only did we get some Vitamin D, neither of us had any foodborne illness symptoms.

Not quite what recent Canadians visiting Cuba have reported, according to Global News.

Unsanitary washrooms, unsafe food handling practices, unrelenting stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea: these are some of the complaints being reported about popular Canadian vacations destinations in Cuba promoted and operated by Sunwing Vacations of Toronto.

“It’s very severe, and I am struggling a week later,” said Amanda Klein of Medicine Hat, Alta., who recently returned from Cuba and says she is still experiencing stomach problems.

Klein, 26, spent a week with her boyfriend and two other Canadian couples at the Memories Paraiso Azul Beach Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba between Jan. 5 and 12.

But within days of the Canadians’ arrival, Klein says five of the six guests were violently ill with vomiting and diarrhea.

Klein says the group stopped eating at the all-inclusive resort–which they booked through Sunwing Vacations–after witnessing troubling food-handling practices.

“Numerous staff put their hands in food, licked their hands and put their hands in the food we were supposed to eat,” she said.

Klein is among a growing number of Sunwing customers who contacted Global News to complain about becoming ill at the Memories Paraiso Azul resort. Many have posted their accounts of poor conditions and illnesses on Facebook and on GlobalNews.ca.

But, Sunwing says it’s is not aware of a significant problem at the resort in Cuba.

“To date the hotel management team at Memories Paraiso Azul has advised us that they have not been made aware of any such cases,” said Jacqueline Grossman, senior director of marketing for Sunwing Vacations.

Grossman says the health and wellbeing of its customers is the company’s “primary concern.”

She acknowledged, however, that travelers have reported illnesses to Sunwing.

“In the past week our customer service department has received information from 10 clients complaining of gastro-illness during their stay at this resort over the last month,” Grossman said.

Sunwing travellers say they got sick at other resorts in Cuba in the last month, too.

Food Safety Talk 86: Low viscosity vomit

Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.  They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.1453228104586

In an effort to get caught up and get some shows out, we have elected to post today’s show notes in a more old school style. Episode 86 is here.

Balding head glare on TV: Chipotle edition

Chipotle is going to close their doors for a day to talk food safety. I’m skeptical that will change the food safety culture – but investors seem to be convinced.

I talked to CBS about it today.

Norovirus sickens dozens at Seattle retirement community

Norovirus has sickened more than two dozen people at a senior living facility in Seattle.

The outbreak first surfaced on Saturday night at Mirabella Seattle and has continued spreading ever since. On Sunday morning, Seattle firefighters answered Artis Leabo’s 911 call for her 94-year-old husband, Dick.

“He got sick early Sunday morning right after breakfast, he ate his breakfast and things started to explode,” said Leabo.

The elderly man is one of the residents at that Mirabella Seattle, a Continuing Care Retirement Community, who got sick.

Leabo says he remains hospitalized.