About 200 people got ill in what officials labeled as Nevada’s worst Salmonella outbreak. According to report released Friday morning, at the Southern Nevada Health District, at least 196 Firefly restaurant patrons and four employees have fallen sick.
The outbreak has also sickened diners who traveled from 20 other U.S. states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington, as well as Canada and the United Kingdom.
Firefly and Dragonfly, a neighboring restaurant, which shares the same kitchen facilities, were shut down since April 26. Health inspection indicated 44 demerits for Firefly and 47 for Dragonfly. This incorporates inappropriate cooling practices, storing and holding of potentially unsafe food as well as raw animal products stocked on top of ready to eat foods.
Sixteen cases confirmed Salmonella Typhimurium variant
Sixteen cases were infected with Salmonella serotype I:4,5,12:, a Salmonella Typhimurium variant that sickened at least 401 people in a 2007 outbreak associated with Banquet pot pies, according to Health investigators.
John Simmons, Firefly owner said they have no plans of reopening the restaurant at the closed location. “Firefly has been a proud member of Southern Nevada for 10 years, and we are optimistic that the combination of moving to this new location, that has a kitchen as large as the entire original Firefly restaurant, and the recommended retraining on operations and procedures, will help us regain the confidence of the community,” Simmons said.
While they could not pinpoint a specific food item as the source, ill patrons probably eat certain menu.
Multistate Outbreaks Linked to Live Poultry
According to U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, Friday, the two separate outbreaks that sickened people across the country were linked to baby poultry sold by Mt Healthy Hatchery in Ohio. “This hatchery uses multiple source flocks to obtain eggs and chicks, so it is unclear at this time where the contamination originated,” said CDC in its outbreak report. Mt. Healthy Hatchery was also the same source of Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Lille outbreak in 2012 that made 195 people ill and killed two people in 27 states.
Study conducted to enhance food safety
Studies are currently conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to better understand the risk of food borne illness and recommend changes to the current practices. The study is aimed to provide a scientific evaluation of the risk associated with ready to eat foods. It will focus on employees work routine and the restaurant environment.
FDA and FSIS have already taken many steps to enhance retail food safety to reduce food-borne illnesses. In recent years, FDA has created educational materials to support food service operators. FSIS is planning to provide outreach materials to highlight risky practices, and adopt best practices that could decrease the potential for food contamination.
Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas