Outbreak at Newark Restaurant described as an “isolated incident”

Reports from the ABC affiliate in Newark (NJ) are that Iberia, a popular local restaurant, is the source of an outbreak linked to Salmonella. To date there have been 35 illnesses reported with five culture-confirmed as Salmonella. All illnesses appear to be linked to Christmas parties on 5 different dates.  While many dishes are being investigated, 7 different homemade sauces have been sent to state laboratories for testing. All restaurant staff have also been tested.

Ramona Serra, one of the reported victims (but with some symptoms not too consistent with salmonellosis) was quoted as saying:

“We had a Christmas party there, and I got a headache around 10:30 and I didn’t feel good the next day.” Serra is among 13 people who got sick at their company Christmas party at the Iberia Peninsula Restaurant at 63 Ferry Street in Newark. Three of them were hospitalized.
“They had a stomach pains, belly ache pains, their whole body was aching them,” Serra said. “They were really bad.”

Isolated, that’s what Iberia general manager George Loueira said about the outbreak, “This is an isolated incident. It’s under investigation. We want to have everybody continue to patronize the business.” I bet. An outbreak isn’t the best advertisement and 5 different dates doesn’t sound too isolated.

Since the investigation started on Dec. 28/09 the Newark Department of Health has placed an inspector in the kitchen to monitor food handling and handwashing.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.