Local health officials said they hope a norovirus outbreak in Buena Vista that left approximately 20 people ill in mid-November will serve as a reminder to area restaurants and food providers to be extra cautious.
The Mountain Mail reports Chaffee County Public Health received complaints from five people saying they were ill after eating food from the Subway in Buena Vista, according to a restaurant inspection report.
Lab tests on samples from the five individuals all tested positive for norovirus.
Public Health estimates roughly 20 people, mostly students at Buena Vista High School, might have fallen ill in the outbreak.
An investigation by Chaffee County Environmental Health Manager Victor Crocco, who declined to name the restaurant, found that one employee reported feeling ill the day after the illness was originally reported.
Subway manager Brandon Alexander said he did not recall any of the employees being sick around the time of the outbreak.
Crocco’s investigation led him to conclude a sick employee, and not a larger food contamination, most likely caused the contamination.
Alexander said he doesn’t remember anything like this happening in his 8 years at the restaurant.
A vacuum brand manager is so confident in his product’s cleaning power that he decided to eat his lunch straight from the floor of Toronto’s busiest subway station, and to record the experience on video.
Ravi Dalchand, brand manager at Bissell Canada and ad firm KBS+ Toronto, came up with the brilliant if gag-inducing idea.
In the video, he cleans a small square of the subway platform with a Bissell Symphony All-in-One Vacuum and Steam Mop, which the company claims can eliminate 99.9 per cent of all germs.
99.9 per cent would be a 3-log killstep.
Food safety types tend to want about a 7-log kill step.
Norovirus is the perfect human pathogen. With its low median infectious dose and stability, norovirus is built to be transferred. Beyond its durability, billions of particles can be shed in every gram of feces and vomit from an infected individual and can be transferred well via fomites, food and water.
Sort of a nightmare for a restaurant if one of their kitchen staff shows up to work ill.
Which is apparently what happened at a Freeport, Texas Subway. According to Emily Thomas at the Huffington Post, former sandwich artist Elizabeth Taff was eventually fired for wanting to go home because she had vomited.
A Subway worker in Freeport, Texas, claims she was forced to continue working her shift while suffering from a stomach bug, then was fired the same day.
Elizabeth Taff, 24, says she was so sick she could barely stand up straight and vomited several times during her shift on July 11, but her manager refused to let her leave unless she found someone to cover her shift.
“About 40 minutes into my shift I felt nauseous. My mouth started watering, and I knew I was about to vomit. I ran into the restroom and vomited repeatedly,” Taff told The Huffington Post. “I went and let my manager know, [but] she told me to find my own replacement after lunch rush.”
Taff says she then summoned enough strength to get through the lunch rush, hoping to track down another employee to fill in for her. But no one else was available, she said.
She noticed vomit on her work clothes and, rather than take a pay cut for a new work shirt, phoned home for someone to bring her a clean outfit, she said. She also maintains she didn’t leave work for fear of getting fired and losing her paycheck.
Speaking to local news outlet KPRC, Taff expressed concern for the impact her sickness could have had on customers.
“I was touching everybody’s sandwiches,” she said. “I’m like, ‘This ain’t right.’ I had gloves on but that doesn’t matter.”
Ultimately, though, she was fired that day. Subway asserts the decision was due to her “poor performance and insubordination,” reports KPRC.
“I was on my knees [on the grass outside the restaurant], while [the manager] berated me with remarks such as ‘you’re so stupid, if you cant handle working while feeling ill you don’t need to work here, all you had to do was switch shirts and finish your shift,'” Taff told HuffPost. “She told me I was fired since I was unable to talk, due to vomiting all over the place.”
After allegedly finding a cockroach in his sandwich at a Subway franchise in Sudbury, Ontario, Patrick Balfour took to Twitter to voice his complaints against the sandwich giant. He’s sparing no expense in the process: He even bought two anti-Subway promoted tweets for $90. His story is a testament to the power of social media to affect sweeping change—or the power of a near-obsessive-compulsive desire to shame a sandwich chain, either one.
He didn’t have a photo of the sandwich. “I was [disgusted] and got rid of the sub as soon as possible,” he said in an email. “I never thought it would drag on this long or that I’d ever need a photo of a dead cockroach.” But after sending a few tweets to @SubwayOntario, the company eventually responded, asking for Balfour’s contact info. When they failed to follow up with him after 10 days, he reached out again and they responded with the same message.
For a while, Balfour forgot about the cockroach incident, until @SubwayCanada launched a promotional initiative on Twitter. He decided to use their new advertising campaign as an opportunity to contact them again:
SUBWAY CANADA: More than great sandwiches, follow SUBWAY®Canada today!
Like before, he received a perfunctory response:
“I called [the line], even though I thought that was a horrible response,” he told me. “What I got was a 24 hour voice mail. Now I was mad!”
Enraged by the subpar customer service, Balfour promoted the following tweet:
Katie would enthrall us with tales of her days as a sandwich artist at Subway in the Soo.
But nothing like this.
One of the men, Cameron Boggs, admitted on Instagram that “today at work I froze my pee” in a water bottle.
Boggs posted — and later deleted — the most incriminating photo, which depicts a man rubbing his genitalia on foot-long bread. It was posted on Instagram by username “weedpriest” with a caption that reads, “My name is @ianjett and I will be your sandwich artist today.”
In an exclusive interview with HuffPost Weird News, Ian Jett copped to defiling the footlong, but denied doing the dirty deed at work.
“I would never do that at work — it was at home,” he said. “This isn’t something I’d ever do at Subway. It was totally a joke.”
Boggs and Jett were fired on Monday, and a representative from Subway public relations released this statement:
This isolated incident is not representative of SUBWAY Sandwich Artists™. These actions are not tolerated and the franchisee took immediate action to terminate the two employees involved.
Daughter Courtlynn loves her some Subway.
She’ll be pleased to know there’s one at the end of our street, open for brekkie at 7 a.m., and usually occupied by several high school students when I take Sorenne to school at 7:50 a.m.
And it’s the same kids, every day.
It’s convenient and while I do most of the cooking, sometimes life gets in the way and Sorenne and I will pop in for a whole wheat sandwich on our way home. In New York City, Subway has the dubious title of franchise most often closed by health types.
The New York Daily News analyzed Health Department data and found Subway stores were shut down a whopping 55 times in the last five years.
Subway officials insist the majority of its 372 city restaurants live up to its “eat fresh” slogan.
“Nearly 90% of the locations have an ‘A’ rating, and some 30 locations have not received their ratings yet,” said company spokesman Les Winograd. “Violations are not tolerated.”
Despite the 55 Subway shutdowns, City Health Department spokeswoman Chanel Caraway was quick to note that “an individual restaurant’s inspection history does not reflect a chain’s performance.”
Kennedy Fried Chicken franchises came in second with 31 closures, Dunkin’ Donuts had 23, Crown Fried Chicken was third with 22 and Golden Krust rounded out the infamous top five with 20.
Most of the 100-plus people infected with norovirus last month had eaten at a local Subway franchise.
The Star Press reports an investigation by the Blackford County Health Department (that’s in Indiana) was unable to determine whether a customer or an employee spread the virus, also known as a stomach bug and food poisoning.
"We don’t know how it bounced in there," said Linda Briles, an environmental health specialist at the department. "We may never know. I use the term ‘bounced in there,’ either www.barfblog.com/blog/152553/12/01/14/eat-fresh-90-sick-norovirus-linked-indiana-subwaywith an employee or a customer, I don’t know. But it bounced in and went from there."
She said the virus could have been spread by a customer who failed to properly wash his or her hands after using the restroom. "A customer could have left it on a door knob," Briles said. "It (transmission) is fecal-oral. Or an employee could have caused it by poor hand washing."
An outbreak investigation report from the state department of health won’t be completed for several months, spokeswoman Amanda Turney said. A state epidemiologist will conduct a "hot wash" meeting today with the county health department staff to identify lessons learned from the outbreak.
"I want to do a final hot wash before I release my report (of the investigation to the public)," Briles said. "It should be available after I get down to the state health department and have it checked by the media (relations office)."
Briles said tests showed that more than one Subway employee was infected with the norovirus. "They were sick the same time everyone else was," Briles said. To her knowledge, the infected employees were not sick before the outbreak.
There has been an Indiana administrative code regulating food workers with diagnosed illnesses since 2000, but it wasn’t being enforced in Indiana until 2008.
Under the code, any food employee who is diagnosed with one of the following illnesses must be excluded from the food establishment: salmonella, shiga toxin-producing E. coli, shigella, hepatitis A or norovirus.
From company headquarters in Milford, Conn., Subway public relations manager Kevin Kane said, "Upon learning of the norovirus investigation by the Blackford County Health Department, the franchisee in Hartford City voluntarily closed the restaurant and had an independent company come in to thoroughly clean and sanitize the restaurant. This was in addition to the stringent cleaning and sanitizing procedures practiced here on a daily basis.
Despite hiring an independent contractor to sanitize the restaurant, Subway was cited by Briles for mold, dirty floors and other violations after re-opening.
The Blackford County Health Department got Subway to close this week after many people complained of flu-like symptoms that even hospitalized some. More than 90 people were affected, according to Linda Briles, the local environmental health officer.
The Muncie Free Press reports the confirmation of norovirus came after testing of stool samples and interviews with people who dined there. Both the Blackford County Board of Health and the Indiana Board of Health participated in the investigation.
Briles said the contamination was traced to a human, but she could not be more specific until the state offered its report. She re-inspected the restaurant and Subway reopened Friday. That was after a week of investigation.
Seven customers at a Subway sandwich outlet in the international terminal of the Vancouver airport were taken to hospital on Friday afternoon suffering from an apparent bout of food poisoning.
Vancouver Coastal Health spokesman Justin Karasick said the suspected cause of their illness was some tuna that may not have been stored at the right temperature.
The customers are believed to have been stricken by a form of food poisoning known as scombroid, which occurs when there is a high level of histamine in raw or uncooked fish, said Mr. Karasick.