260 sickened last year: Closed and broke, Golden Ponds restaurant to hold auction

On Tuesday, September 19, the owner of the Greece restaurant, Golden Ponds, will sell everything at auction – from the freezer to the flatware.

The Monroe County Health Department says last year 260 people got sick after eating at his Thanksgiving Buffet. Health inspectors shut him down. When he finally reopened, patrons did not come back. Now he’s facing lawsuits, deep debt, and the end of his career. On Friday, he opened his doors and ended his silence for this week’s Restaurants Exposed report.

Ralph Rinaudo hasn’t changed a thing since that January day when he closed the doors for good at Golden Ponds. When News10NBC toured the restaurant, tables were still set, plates were stacked, and linens covered long tables were buffets were served.

“I left everything just the way it was, and it’s tough to just take things out,” said Rinaudo. “All the parties we had booked they just canceled because people were telling me that their friends or people don’t want to come here because they were afraid,” he admitted.

In fact, in the party room, tables are still set for a party that canceled eight months ago. Warmers await food for the buffet – an eerie reminder of the event that forced Rinaudo to close his doors. Asked if he felt guilty about the 260 people who the health department has determined were sickened at his restaurant he answered. “That’s what they said, ‘They got sick here.’ I can’t dispute that what they say.

But the patrons aren’t the only ones saying it. So are scientists at the Monroe County Department of Health who investigate the source of foodborne illness. They say at last year’s Thanksgiving buffet Golden Ponds served up turkey with a side dish of Clostridium perfringens – a dangerous bacteria that inspectors say was likely in gravy held at unsafe temperatures. Two hundred and sixty people suffered serious symptoms from bloody diarrhea to cramping resulting in hospitalizations for some.

“The most difficult case we had a woman who had her colon removed and is going to spend the rest of her life with a colostomy bag,” said Paul Nunes, an attorney for dozens of plaintiffs suing the restaurant.

In his lawsuits, Nunes points to the Monroe County Health Department’s inspection reports which lists mold on the floor of the walk-in refrigerator, heavily rusted shelving in that same refrigerator, a walk-in freezer that didn’t close tightly, mouse droppings, and a kitchen area that inspectors said was quote “in very poor sanitary condition.”

“If you’re sloppy in one thing, you’re sloppy in another thing,” said Nunes. “It’s a modus operandi. This is how they ran the restaurant.”

That’s an allegation Rinaudo denied during News10NBC’s tour of the now closed Golden Ponds. Everything is now for sale from the stove to the ovens still marked with the signs of heavy use. Asked if the auction would get him out of debt he said, “No, no, nothing. Selling this building wouldn’t get me out of debt.”

19 sickened: Temperatures matter; C. perfringens outbreak at a catered lunch Connecticut, 2016

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports in September 2016, the Connecticut Department of Public Health was notified of a cluster of gastrointestinal illnesses among persons who shared a catered lunch.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health worked with the local health department to investigate the outbreak and recommend control measures. Information about symptoms and foods eaten was gathered using an online survey. A case was defined as the onset of abdominal pain or diarrhea in a lunch attendee <24 hours after the lunch. Risk ratios (RRs), 95% confidence intervals (CIs), and Fisher’s exact p-values were calculated for all food and beverages consumed. Associations of food exposures with illness were considered statistically significant at p<0.05. Among approximately 50 attendees, 30 (60%) completed the survey; 19 (63%) respondents met the case definition. The majority of commonly reported symptoms included diarrhea (17 of 18), abdominal pain (15 of 16), and headache (7 of 15).

The median interval from lunch to illness onset was 5.3 hours (range = 0.4–15.5 hours) for any symptom and 7 hours (range = 2.5–13 hours) for diarrhea. Analysis of food exposures reported by 16 ill and 10 well respondents (four respondents did not provide food exposure information) found illness to be associated with the beef dish (RR = undefined; CI = 1.06–∞; p = 0.046) (Table). All 16 ill respondents reported eating the beef. Coffee was also associated with illness; however, all 13 coffee drinkers who became ill also ate the beef. Eating cake approached significance (p = 0.051); all 10 cake eaters who became ill also ate the beef.The caterer had begun preparing all dishes the day before the lunch. Meats were partially cooked and then marinated in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, they were sautéed 2 hours before lunch. Inspection of the facility found the limited refrigerator space to be full of stacked containers that were completely filled with cooked food, disposable gloves that appeared to have been washed for reuse, and a porous wooden chopping block.

The caterer’s four food workers reported no recent illness. Stool specimens from the food workers and from four ill attendees all tested negative for norovirus, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella, and Shigella at the Connecticut State Public Health Laboratory. All eight specimens were sent to the Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory, where additional testing was available. Two specimens from food workers were positive for enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli by polymerase chain reaction, but no enterotoxigenic E. coli colonies were isolated. Seven specimens (four from food workers and three from attendees) were culture-positive for Clostridium perfringens, and specimens from all attendees contained C. perfringens enterotoxin. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of 29 C. perfringens isolates from the culture-positive specimens found no matches among attendee isolates, but demonstrated a single matching pattern between two food worker specimens. No leftover food items were available for testing.

C. perfringens, a gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium, forms spores allowing survival at normal cooking temperatures and germination during slow cooling or storage at ambient temperature (1). Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms are caused by C. perfringens enterotoxin production in the intestines. Vomiting is rare and illness is usually self-limited, although type C strains can cause necrotizing enteritis (1).

Symptoms reported were consistent with C. perfringens infection, with a predominance of diarrhea, and median diarrhea onset time was at the lower end of the typical C. perfringens incubation period (6–24 hours) (1). C. perfringens enterotoxin detection in the stool of two or more ill persons confirms C. perfringens as the outbreak etiology (2). Both C. perfringens and enterotoxigenic E. coli can colonize asymptomatic persons (3,4), which might explain the presence of these pathogens in the stools of asymptomatic food workers. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis did not identify the C. perfringens strain responsible for the outbreak, but findings add to the evidence for a wide variety of C. perfringens strains, not all producing C. perfringens enterotoxin (5).

C. perfringens outbreaks are typically associated with improper cooling or inadequate reheating of contaminated meats (1), which might have occurred with the beef dish. The restaurant was advised about the need for adequate refrigeration and best practices for cooling foods, including using stainless steel rather than plastic containers, avoiding filling containers to depths exceeding two inches, avoiding stacking containers, and ventilating hot food. Upon follow-up inspection, staff members discarded disposable gloves after one use, used only food-grade cutting boards, and maintained proper food temperatures for hot holding, cold holding, cooling, and reheating, as outlined in the Food and Drug Administration Food Code.

An estimated 1 million illnesses in the United States each year are attributable to C. perfringens, but fewer than 1,200 illnesses are reported annually with C. perfringens outbreaks (6). C. perfringens testing is not routine for foodborne outbreaks; even if testing is unavailable, C. perfringens should be considered when improper cooling, inadequate reheating, and improper temperature maintenance of meat are identified.

Golden Ponds to reopen after bad gravy sickens 260

Golden Ponds Restaurant in suburban Rochester, New York – Rochester, who goes to Rochester — has been cleared by the health department to reopen, after 260 people were sickened after eating Thanksgiving dinner.

doug-turkey-cater_-nov_-16-300x225The restaurant will most likely be open for business starting next Tuesday, according to the owner.

The Monroe County Department of Health shut the restaurant down the day after Thanksgiving, after 60 people initially reported illnesses following eating food from Golden Ponds.

According to the health department, lab results point to an outbreak of Clostridium perfringens.

Officials say it is “most likely” that the gravy served was the source of the bacteria. They also noted that lapses in food safety practices were observed during their investigation.

Golden Ponds had previously been inspected several times in the months leading up to the outbreak, and had violations including food being stored at improper temperatures.

How do you like them tamales: Variations in storage and reheating procedures

Once made, quickly refrigerate tamales to limit spore growth, and frying may not be the best reheating option. Microwaves are lousy for cooking but great for reheating.

tamalesThis study analyzed the behavior of Clostridium perfringens in individual ingredients and tamales containing different pathogen concentrations upon exposure to different temperatures and methods of cooking, storage, and reheating.

In ground pork, C. perfringens cells were inactivated when exposed to 95°C for 30 min. Three lots of picadillo inoculated with 0, 3, and 5 log CFU/g C. perfringens cells, respectively, were exposed to different storage temperatures. At 20°C, cell counts increased 1 log in all lots, whereas at 8°C, counts decreased by 2 log. Four lots of tamales prepared with picadillo inoculated with 0, 2, 3, and 7 log CFU/g prior to the final cooking step exhibited no surviving cells (91°C for 90, 45, or 35 min). Four lots of tamales were inoculated after cooking with concentrations of 0, 0.6, 4, and 6 log CFU/g of the pathogen and then stored at different temperatures. In these preparations, after 24 h at 20°C, the count increased by 1.4, 1.7, and 1.8 log in the tamales inoculated with 0.6, 4, and 6 log inoculum, respectively. When they were stored at 8°C for 24 h, enumerations decreased to <1, 2.5, and 1.9 log in the tamales inoculated with 0.6, 4, and 6 log of C. perfringens cells, respectively. However, when the lots were exposed to 20°C and then 8°C, 0.8, 1.8, and 2.4 log changes were observed for the tamales inoculated with 0.6, 4, and 6 log, respectively.

how.tamalesMicrowaving, steaming, and frying to reheat tamales inoculated with 6 log CFU/g C. perfringens cells showed that the pathogen was inactivated after 2 min of exposure in the microwave and after 5 min of exposure to steam. In contrast, no inactivation was observed after 5 min of frying. The tamales inoculated with spores (7 log most probable number [MPN]/g) showed a decrease of 2 log after steaming or frying, and no survival was observed after microwaving. Tamales inoculated with spores (7 log MPN/g) after cooking were susceptible to microwaves, but 2.4 and 255 MPN/g remained after frying and steaming, respectively.

Behavior and inactivation of enterotoxin-positive Clostridium perfringens in pork picadillo and tamales filled with pork picadillo under different cooking, storage, and reheating conditions

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 5, May 2016, pp. 696-889, pp. 741-747(7)

Villarruel-López, A.; Ruíz-Quezada, S. L.; Castro-Rosas, J.; Gomez-Aldapa, C. A.; Olea-Rodríguez, M. A.; Nuño, K.; Navarro-Hidalgo, V.; Torres-Vitela, M. R.

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/iafp/jfp/2016/00000079/00000005/art00007

13 dead, 10 sick from C. perfringens in Nigeria

On Feb. 27, 2016, Dr Rilwanu Muhammad, the Executive Secretary, of the Federal Capital Territory Primary Health Care Development Board in Nigeria said that 13 people died, while 10 people survived food poisoning caused by Clostridium perfringens in Abuja.

africa0027-e1407965162944The board took blood samples from infected persons and water from the well and the 3 bore holes in the community for clinical diagnosis at the laboratory of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Muhammad called on community administration to provide safe and clean water for the community. He also called on the community to enhance personal hygiene, especially hand washing, adding that C. perfringens infection could be traced in the stool of the affected person.

‘Dead man’s tray’ Clostridium perfringens likely cause of Fargo jail outbreak

Three weeks after an apparent foodborne illness outbreak at the Cass County Jail, the North Dakota Department of Health determined what likely made about 110 inmates sick over a two-day stretch in mid-December.

fargo.margAlthough an official cause is still pending, State Epidemiologist Laura Cronquist says testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points to Clostridium perfringens bacteria as the culprit, based on stool samples from several inmates.

Clostridium perfringens is commonly found on raw meat and poultry, according to the CDC, and infection can occur when foods are prepared in large quantities and kept warm for a long time before serving.

“It’s really common,” Cronquist said, adding, “It’s not really surprising that it’s an institution that this happened in.”

Last month’s outbreak was the second major outbreak at the Cass County Jail in four years. In the latest case, about 40 percent of the jail’s 282 inmates had symptoms including diarrhea and nausea. No inmates were hospitalized, and jail staff said the illness was short-lived.

Clostridium perfringens was also the likely cause of a larger illness outbreak at the jail in November 2011, when 90 percent of the 184 inmates inmates came down with diarrhea and vomiting. In that case, the organism was also found inside sick inmates, but couldn’t be confirmed in the most likely food source, the chili macaroni served that day.

The Cass County Jail freezes meal samples daily to save in the event of illness in a process referred to in the corrections industry as a “dead man’s tray.” Cronquist said she’s working with the CDC to determine which of those specific foods will be tested.

UK care home fined after six elderly residents suffer food poisoning

A care home provider has been fined more than £14,000 after six elderly residents fell ill with food poisoning at its Southall home.

beef.pureeAccording to Ealing Council , Life Style Care plc, who operate the Grange Care Centre, in Adrienne Avenue, pleaded guilty to three offences at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on October 1 under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) regulations.

The council said that on December 27 last year, six elderly residents fell ill with food poisoning after eating a puréed beef meal.

Following an investigation by Public Health England (PHE) and Ealing Council, samples from the residents showed traces of the bacteria Clostridium perfringens and its toxins, concluding that the meal increased the risk of being ill 48 times.

The council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for safety, culture and community services, councillor Ranjit Dheer said: “It is so important for businesses to remember that poor food hygiene can have real consequences for their customers.

“This awful case highlights how serious food contamination can be. Had this business reheated the food thoroughly and held it at the right temperature, the outbreak would not have happened.

The company was fined £3,500 for each offence, and order to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and Ealing Council’s costs of £3,795.17, coming to a total of £14,415.17.

New Brunswick community dinner linked to death and over 100 illnesses

When I was a kid my parents regularly took me to church dinners. Part of my family’s social schedule was the faith-based community events where folks got together over pancakes, spaghetti, shortcake and egg salad sandwiches. It never occurred to me that the organizers and food handlers weren’t professionals; they were the parents and grandparents of my friends.

And they happened to be making meals for a couple of hundred hungry community members.Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 10.38.22 PM

I guess they meant well, but I have no idea whether the volunteers worried about food safety or did anything to keep me and the others sick. Or that community dinners had been a traditional setting for  foodborne pathogen outbreaks. According to CBC news, over 100 members of a New Brunswick (that’s in Canada) community fell ill following a community Christmas meal, and tragically an elderly woman died. 

Roughly 100 people attended the community supper on Dec. 5, where a traditional holiday meal of turkey, vegetables, gravy and pies was served.

Within a few hours of the supper, several people became sick. One woman died and 30 other people reported signs of gastrointestinal illness, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Bessie Scott has been identified as the woman who died, and on Friday family and friends filed into a funeral home in Nackawic to say goodbye.

Alex Hoffmann and his wife were among those who fell ill after eating the tainted food.

“At two o’clock we both woke up with terrible bellyache. And then I had to go that night three times …,” he said.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the acting chief medical officer of health, said on Friday that public health officials have taken samples of the leftover food from the Christmas supper and are trying to determine the precise cause of the infections.

“But definitely the timeline of when those symptoms occurred was within 12 hours, so that is a pretty quick onset and so that in and of itself would tell us what kind of bacteria we are looking for,” Russell said.

“The most likely one that I discussed with Dr. Yves Leger [a local public health officer] is Clostridium perfringens.”

In 2011, the provincial government considered imposing food licensing and inspection requirements on not-for-profit events, such as church suppers.

But Madeleine Dubé, the health minister at the time, said the provincial government had received public feedback that “licensing and inspection requirements are too demanding for not-for-profit events.”

Environmental health specialists/health inspectors are the good guys, ensuring that organizers and volunteers have the right equipment in place and know what to do. Making turkey for hundreds is way different from making it for a family. A list of community dinner-linked outbreaks can be found here.

 

Smartphones lead to smarter outbreak investigations: Clostridium perfringens, London, March 2013

On 22 March 2013, 150 of 1,255 students (13–17 years) and staff at a school in London reported gastrointestinal symptoms; onset peaked 8 to 12 hours after a lunch served in the school on 21 March. We performed a retrospective cohort study of all students and staff. We defined cases as school attenders on 20 and 21 March with onset of gastrointestinal symptoms between 20 and 23 March.

carpet-vomit-stainsWe tested food, environmental and stool samples of cases for common pathogens and bacterial toxins. We administered an online questionnaire via email, encouraging the use of smartphones to respond, to measure risk of illness for food items eaten at school on 20 and 21 March. Survey response was 45%. Adjusted risk ratios were generated in a multivariable analysis. Those who ate chicken balti on 21 March were 19.3 times more likely to become ill (95% confidence interval: 7.3–50.9). Clostridium perfringens was detected in all 19 stool samples collected. Within eight school hours of its launch, 412 of 561 (73%) responders had completed the survey. Hygienic standards in the kitchen were satisfactory. The investigation was done rapidly due to smartphone technology and we recommend considering this technology in future outbreaks.

Euro Surveill. 2014;19(19)

Simone B, Atchison C, Ruiz B, Greenop P, Dave J, Ready D, Maguire H, Walsh B, Anderson S.

Health department says Bonicki’s outbreak could have resulted from improper food storage

The Michigan Department of Community Health reports that an outbreak of foodborne illness at Bonicki’s Sports Bistro, could have resulted from improper food storage.

In a news release Friday morning, April 11, the health department officials said the investigation at Bonicki’s at 1891 East Apple Ave. turned up the presence of Clostridium perfringens, a common bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.

395394_237923292949867_1801694089_nThe bacteria is found throughout nature but “typically causes illness when foods are served after improper storage or held at inadequate storage temperatures,” according to the health department.

Bonicki’s General Manager Karen Mead responded to the news with a prepared statement.

“We, the Bonicki’s family, apologize for the recent event,” she said. “We would like to thank the community, our loyal customers and the Muskegon County health department.”

On Friday, Ken Kraus, health officer at Public Health-Muskegon County, called the incident a teachable moment for others in the food service industry.

“We are relieved to know the cause and are working with the restaurant to improve their food storage practices,” he said in a news release. “While it may take a bit more effort, following proper food cooling and storage procedures is an important part in preventing foodborne illness.”