Shigella makes rare restaurant appearance
Business fell 70 percent at the two sister restaurants of Mariscos San Juan #3 after that branch was shut in mid-October because of an outbreak of shigellosis, a flu-like ailment that can be carried in food. Health authorities were never able to find the cause, but a majority of the 94 confirmed victims had eaten in the restaurant. All told, 190 people in the area claimed to have been sickened by the Shigella bacteria.
Mariscos proprietor Segio Cruz has said the pathogen was likely brought into his restaurant by outsiders, possibly to use the bathroom. Authorities confirmed that an employee was one of the victims, but were able to confirm that he was not the source of the outbreak. The restaurant was closed for three weeks before reopening on Nov. 6.
E.coli erupts in Reno
The Twisted Fork restaurant voluntarily shut after six of eight instances of E.coli poisoning were traced to the establishment. Concern might have been stoked by a near-simultaneous but completely unrelated outbreak of norovirus infections in local schools. The restaurant said it gave complete access to health authorities, but their efforts to find the source have been unsuccessful to date.
Chipotle weathers a safety crisis
Perhaps the most publicized of the recent food-safety problems tied to restaurants was the flurry of E.coli poisonings that were traced to a handful of Chipotle Mexican Grills in Washington and Oregon. A total of 42 people were sickened, but apparently all had not eaten in a Chipotle. Those who had visited the chain had ordered from one of 11 restaurants. Yet, for the sake of public safety, Chipotle closed 43 stores in the area, discarded all of their food, and stepped up testing in all 2,000 of its domestic units. The restaurants reopened Tuesday. Once again, authorities were unable to find the source of the bacterial contamination.
Is it really a spike?
Authorities haven’t offered an explanation for why food-safety problems seem to be on the rise. There’s been some discussion (and worry) within the industry that restaurants are more vulnerable because many jurisdictions have reduced the number of safety inspectors they employ or the number of restaurant visits each makes.
The standing speculation has been that outbreaks aren’t increasing, but it feels that way because officials are better equipped today to spot a pattern in food-poisoning instances. In bygone years, advocates of that theory have argued, the communication mechanisms weren’t in place to tie one person getting sick with the ailments of another.