Avoid the soup or sandwiches: Norovirus suspected as 40 now sick at Carnegie-Mellon linked to café

At least 40 people have gotten sick after eating at La Prima Espresso on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus earlier this week, including two people who worked at the eatery, according to the Allegheny County Health Department.

La Prima ExpressoThe outbreak at the eatery, which closed for cleaning today, is believed to have been caused by transmission of a norovirus, a highly contagious virus that can be spread by ingestion, as well as mere contact with an infected surface or person, said Karen Hacker, health department director.

“The question for us now is was it something from the food handling itself,” she said.

There may be more people who were infected but have not reported it to a health agency and are just dealing with the discomforting, but rarely serious symptoms of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea that can last two to three days, Dr. Hacker said. No one is known to have been hospitalized by the illness in this case.

Officials involved in the ongoing investigation by the university, health department and La Prima, believe that the people who got sick may have eaten or come in contact with either the soup or sandwiches served there on Monday or Tuesday.

CMU tried to downplay the outbreak earlier this week, refusing to comment since Wednesday beyond a brief alert posted on its website Wednesday afternoon saying that 15 students had reported getting sick and that La Prima had pulled “certain food items” as a result.

The reason it was asked to do a more thorough cleaning was because it told the county on Thursday that two of La Prima’s employees had gotten sick, too, said Donna Scharding, the health department’s food safety program manager. CMU did not mention that in its alert to campus.

Over 300 sick in Sweden, school kitchens suspect

At least 300 people have fallen ill in a large outbreak of stomach flu that has hit students and staff in Sollentuna. Food preparation kitchens are suspected.

barf.swedenThere is a likely connection to the cooking kitchen in Häggvik School, says Elisabeth Thelin, Director of Administration in the environmental and planning office in the municipality of Sollentuna.

The municipality cooperates with the Infectious Diseases Stockholm to stop the spread of infection and find out what has caused stomach illness outbreak. Among other things, the kitchen cleaned and samples taken.

An investigation is underway. Yet we do not know what is the cause and it is important not to speculate, says Elisabeth Thelin.

Artisan? UK cheesemaker banned from ever making cheese again after health inspectors found deadly salmonella, E. coli and listeria in her mozzarella

An artisan cheesemaker has been banned from ever making cheese again after salmonella, E.coli and listeria was found in her mozzarella.

frances.woodHealth inspectors discovered Frances Wood’s dairy in West Cranmore, Somerset, in a filthy state with ‘high-risk’ moldy cheese laid on dirty racks with taps rusting away.

A judge branded the 70-year-old’s cheese-making operation ‘shoddy’ and ‘amateurish’ after hearing that her products contained salmonella, E.coli and the listeria bug – which kills one-third of people infected.

Wood would often travel to London’s Camden Market to sell her artisan mozzarella which she also sold to local pizza restaurants.

She ran Alham Wood Cheeses at Higher Alham Farm, where she kept buffalo and made mozzarella cheese from their milk.

The buffalo have been on the farm since 1997, with a 200-strong herd kept there.

Mendip District Council inspected her dairy several times and saw no change in the disgusting conditions.

And when they viewed her stall at Camden Market, they found the same unhygienic products.

The local authority said they tried to work with Wood to improve her cheese-making, but took legal action when it became clear she had not made any improvements to hygiene conditions at her dairy.

She was served with formal notices at the end of November 2014 and was then prosecuted for two offences under food safety and hygiene regulations.

Alham_Farm_cheeses_2Wood pleaded guilty to the charges and was fined a total of £787 and made to pay £6,000 in prosecution costs.

But a district judge also took the rare step of imposing a Hygiene Prohibition Notice, which bans Wood from ‘participating in the management of any cheese production or processing business in the future’.

He called Wood’s business ‘a shoddy operation’ which was ‘rather amateurish’.

Foodborne outbreak at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University says 15 students have diarrhea, nausea and vomiting and 13 of those cases have been directly linked to a cafe on campus.

La Prima ExpressoThirteen of the students who are ill ate soup or sandwiches from La Prima Expresso on the Pittsburgh school’s campus on Monday or Tuesday. The owner of the business hasn’t commented, but school officials say certain menu items have been removed from the cafe as a precaution.

The school’s University Health Services is working with the Allegheny County Health Department to determine what’s causing the illnesses.

The school plans to post student alerts as more information develops.

Restaurant inspection reports: Hawaii embraces openness, northern Utah not, so much

Sorry, northern Utah diners. If you want to see a restaurant inspection report online, expect to do your own detective work and, in many cases, prepare to be disappointed.

big.love.harry.deanLocal health boards are given broad latitude by state administrative code governing food service sanitation, which has led to varied availability of restaurant inspection data on the internet.

The Weber-Morgan health board does not provide a public restaurant inspection database on its website. It does, however, offer an “Establishments Under Enforcement” section that names the affected restaurants and gives a few words about the nature of their critical violations. Complete reports are not available.

As of Monday, April 18, five Weber County restaurants were under enforcement. All of them are in Ogden and all were censured for repeat critical violations.

Restaurants stay on this virtual wall of shame until they correct critical deficiencies to the satisfaction of health inspectors.

At the 817 food establishments in the two counties, 1,697 inspections were conducted in 2015, according to information provided by Michelle Cooke, food safety program manager.

Four restaurants were under scrutiny at the highest risk level (level 4), meaning they have exceeded infractions on an 11-factor inspection scale, have had previous enforcement actions within the past two years, warning notices issued or documented cases of foodborne illnesses. Level 4 restaurants are re-inspected within three months.

“Facilities and restaurants are placed on corrective action when the deadline to correct a critical issue has passed and there has been no good-faith attempt to fix the problem,” Cooke said in a provided statement.

northern.utah.restaurantMost violations stem from a restaurant not having a food safety manager on duty at all times, Cooke said.

“This is required by Utah law and is important because they have a more detailed knowledge of foodborne illnesses and how to prevent them,” she said.

Since 2006, Davis County health board policy has called for all restaurant inspection reports to be available online. However, a recent technology change cut previous inspection records from the department website. Inspections conducted since the technology switch are available, but a search for many restaurants at this time will return no results.


25 percent of Hawaii restaurants received yellow, red cards

Two weeks after the state made its food inspections public, we’re digging deeper into the information posted online. The data is public, but the number of inspections and other figures are not simply listed.

All restaurants in Hawaii, the type of safety inspection it received, even the ingredients used in a meal that may have made a customer sick are included in the state’s new website.

“They want an explanation of why we saw certain things and why we did or did not do an action based on that,” said Peter Oshiro with the State Department of Health.

KHON2 spent days digging deeper, and found out DOH inspectors have checked out more than 4,800 locations across the state. They did 10,270 inspections, and have handed out more than 1,800 yellow or red placards.

The state is still in the process of entering more data, and told us Tuesday that 25 percent of food establishments received a yellow (conditional) card or red (closed) card.

“Is that a high number?” KHON2 asked.

“That’s a relative thing. I think what this shows is that 75 percent of establishments right now are fully compliant with rules and regulations,” Oshiro said. “Twenty-five percent yellow cards, we would like to see that down to 15 percent or below.”

To help, the state offers free food safety classes. It’s becoming increasingly popular since the introduction of the health department’s color-coded placard system.

Eating out: Hygiene tops Brits’ list

Surveys still suck, especially since rating are displayed on a voluntary basis in England, but this one is fun in that it concludes UK consumers are united in not tolerating poor food hygiene ratings and simply won’t visit places that have had food safety issues, no matter what type of restaurant they are. 61% won’t eat at a restaurant, takeaway, coffee shop or pub that has a low Food Standards Agency (FSA) Food Hygiene Rating while three quarters (75%) said they wouldn’t risk dining at a restaurant that had been implicated in a food hygiene incident, even if recommended by someone that they trust.

eatmeThese are the headline findings of UK consumer research carried out by Checkit.net, which also found that diners would rather put up with poor service from rude and unhelpful staff than eat at dirty restaurants. 66% of respondents rated unclean or dirty premises as the first or second reason for not returning to a restaurant. Just 16% cited slow or poor service and 32% said rude or unhelpful staff would stop them coming back to a restaurant.

The impact of being implicated in a food hygiene incident is catastrophic for the survival of any restaurant business. Of the 75% of consumers that wouldn’t risk a visit, 43% said they’d never dine there, no matter what, while 32% would only return if it had closed down and reopened under new ownership. A further 22% said they’d only return if the food hygiene rating improved dramatically – meaning that owners would need deep pockets and the ability to invest heavily over a long period of time to meet hygiene standards, rebuild trust and attract diners back.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a Michelin starred restaurant or a local takeaway – consumers will not tolerate poor food hygiene and will vote with their feet if a restaurant has been implicated in a food hygiene incident,” said Dee Roche, Marketing Director, Checkit.net. “This demonstrates the enormous impact that poor food safety has on business survival – how could you cope with 61% of your customers boycotting your restaurant? These findings are a wakeup call to those restaurants that think that food safety is not a customer priority – diners rate hygiene as the number one reason, above service or rude staff when it comes to choosing whether to return to a restaurant.”

mr.creosote.monty.python.vomitThe research found that consumers had the highest expectations of fine dining restaurants, with 69% saying they would not visit any that had a low food hygiene rating. This was followed by takeaways (including Chinese, Indian or kebab sellers), with 64% of people avoiding any with low food hygiene ratings. In contrast they were slightly better disposed to cafés and coffee shops (55%), possibly due to the more limited range of food being sold.

“Food hygiene ratings matter to consumers, and are an increasingly important part of choosing where they eat,” said David Davies, Managing Director, Checkit.net.

Everyone’s got a camera: Hamburger-buns-stored-next-to-toilet-at-Tennessee-Checkers edition

Customers at a local fast food restaurant in Bradley County say they found a disturbing scene over the weekend, hundreds of buns, just feet away from a public toilet

checkersIt all happened at a Checkers restaurant located off of 25th Street in North West Cleveland,TN. Pictures confirm the buns weren’t in the oven, they were in the bathroom, Saturday. Customers say this type of practice is unacceptable while health department officials called it a “public health emergency.” Tennessee Department of Health officials were on the scene within 24 hours to investigate. 

“That’s nasty, I don’t want to eat,” said customer T.C. Cooper. “I’m never going to eat there again.” 

Customers are now turning away from the Checkers in Cleveland after seeing the pictures another customer posted online. 
The video show several racks of hamburger buns sitting next to the toilet in the men’s bathroom.

“It’s just bad business, poor management and it’s disgusting,” said Cooper. 

Stephen Staley who manages a nearby McDonalds says he was visiting Checkers on Saturday when took the video. 

“My first thought was are they going to serve them and speechless other than that,” said Staley 

He says he took the video to keep others safe.

“I’ve been to get a serve-safe certificate and you learn about all of that stuff in that class,” said Staley. “Food safety is definitely a big priority in a restaurant.”

 He confronted the manager on duty about the buns being in the bathroom. 

“They said they were trying to get them out of there and inside of the restaurant,” said Staley. 

Staley told Channel 3 that he stayed on the property until employees moved the buns back inside more than an hour after his complaint. He then he called the Health Department’s emergency tip-line for help. 

A spokesperson for Checkers released a statement saying:

” The health and safety of our guests is our top priority and a bread delivery mistakenly left in the bathroom is completely unacceptable. The buns were misplaced during a delivery at the franchise-operated Checkers location in Cleveland, Tennessee, on Saturday, April 23, 2016, and when discovered, they were immediately disposed of by the restaurant team. The buns were never served, and the employees involved in the delivery have been disciplined.”
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400 attendees at Indian model UN sickened: Box8 slapped with FDA notice over filthy kitchen

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent a notice to Box8 in connection with the stale food provided by them at the Indian International Model United Nations (IIMUN) event.

Box-8-foundersBox8 is currently in a soup after 300-400 attendees at the event fell ill after consuming the meal provided by them in mid-April.

The decision to issue a notice was taken after FDA inspectors raided the company’s Thane-based kitchen. The company has been given a period of 15 days to rectify the flaws in the kitchen pointed out to them by the agency.

‘We closely audit all resorts’ Campy ruins UK couple’s holiday

A Heanor holidaymaker is taking legal action against a travel company after he contracted food poisoning which turned birthday celebration into a “nightmare.”

traditional-food-stallJames Gratton, 51, and his wife Paula, 50 were staying in a four star hotel in Marrakech, Morocco when he ate incorrectly prepared poultry which gave him Campylobacter.

James, a HGV driver, said: “We booked this holiday as a way of celebrating my birthday and we’d been looking forward to it for a long time.

“But, in truth, it turned into a nightmare for both of us.

“I suffered terrible symptoms at the hotel, during our flight home and when I got back to the UK. The illness meant half the holiday was ruined for both of us.

“I had to take some extra time of work to recover from the symptoms and I still don’t feel completely right.

“We hope that by taking legal action we’ll find out what caused me to fall ill and how I came to test positive for Campylobacter.

“What was supposed to be an enjoyable and relaxing trip turned into a bit of a nightmare and spoilt what should have been a celebratory holiday.”

A First Choice spokesperson said: “First Choice is sorry to hear of Mr and Mrs Gratton’s experience.

“As this is now subject to legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.

“We closely audit all resorts to which we operate to ensure that health, hygiene and comfort levels are maintained in line with industry standards.”