A SALMONELLA STORY
A Salmonella Story Here is another Salmonella story which involved one of my restaurants and had nothing to do with turkey! Salmonella is usually associated with poultry but not in this case. An ethnic food restaurant in a small town in my district had received complaints from customers of foodborne illness. As I investigated and met with management, I found that 56 people had been confirmed with Salmonella. The restaurant was closed down until the source of the outbreak could be identified. Management was co-operative. After my inspection, and review of the foodhandling techniques used by staff, it was decided to take stool specimens from staff as a possible source. When the results came in, the probable cause appeared to be a food handler with poor hygiene who prepared the lunchtime smorgasbord. However, no chicken or egg dishes were being served. She tested positive for Salmonella. She would prepare the ham roll-ups at 9:30 am, place them out at 11:00 am on the buffet table where they sat until 2:00 pm when she removed the leftover food. The ham was displayed at room temperature and not placed in a refrigerated unit so was in the danger zone the entire time. How did this happen? It turned out that she had come back from an overseas holiday and and became infected with Salmonella. Her symptoms had not yet begun and she rarely washed her hands properly. As she was handling the ham, she was placing Salmonella bacteria on the food which resulted in the food poisoning at the restaurant. The food handler was horrified to think that she had been the cause of the outbreak, but was assured that she would still have her job as long as her foodhandling technique improved! The restaurant re-opened, removed the ham roll-ups from the smorgasbord menu and never had another large outbreak again. In this case, it was possible to have Salmonella on other foods through direct contamination of the food handler not washing her hands.