Up to 35 sick after Easter brunch in Mass

No one wants to barf after Easter brunch.

Or any other meal.

But the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports that city health inspectors are investigating an outbreak of illnesses in patrons who ate Easter brunch at Luciano’s Cotton Club restaurant at Union Station.

Eight people have reported becoming ill to the city’s Health Department, according to Amanda Wilson, the city’s director of housing and health inspections. One person was admitted to the hospital. As many as 35 may have been sickened, she said.

“At this point, there is no confirmed case that shows this is a foodborne illness,” Ms. Wilson said yesterday. “We are treating it as some kind of communicable disease. We have not confirmed the source.”

The Health Department started receiving calls from Luciano’s patrons on Tuesday, and immediately sent inspectors to the restaurant, she said. The inspectors found two violations of the city’s food handling regulations. There was evidence of rodents on the premises, she said, and two reach-in coolers were not set at the correct temperature for the food they were storing.

The restaurant immediately took steps to correct the problems, and a follow-up inspection the next day found the restaurant to be in compliance, she said. The restaurant has been given full inspections three times in three days, she said.
Inspectors are also interviewing all the staff at Luciano’s, she said. She said that one Luciano’s staff member was apparently sick with a stomach illness in the days before the brunch. Another staff member has been sick since the brunch, according to Alex Barbosa, the restaurant’s general manager.

Gus Giordano, owner of Luciano’s Cotton Club at Union Station said the restaurant is fully complying with city health inspectors, adding, “We’re assuming it’s something airborne. This is the train station, it could have been anything. I have a reputation in this business, it’s on the line. I would put my life on it that it wasn’t food poisoning.”

What about that sick employee?