Salmonella outbreak linked to deli at suburban Chicago store

On Saturdays I take Sam grocery shopping. Although we shop throughout the week too, weekends are our time get our most of our food supplies. We usually hit two or three stores, grabbing food samples as we go.

Deli cheese is a popular sample stop, especially when provolone or mozzarella are available. I grab three small squares of cheese on toothpicks and we head through the store.JEWEL-OSCO_green-store-chic

I trust that the folks responsible for cutting the cheese aren’t showing up to work ill and are practicing good hygiene.

According to NBC Chicago at least nine patrons of a Tinley Park Jewel-Osco grocery store have Salmonella – and the common factor is eating food from the deli.

Based on questionnaires sent to the victims, the Cook County Health Department focused its investigation on the deli at the Jewel store at 171st Street and Harlem Avenue.

The deli was shut down on Wednesday, the food and the staff replaced, and reopened (staff replaced? Does that mean they were fired? -ben).

Officials say it’s rare to pinpoint a specific food as the source of salmonella, and it’s more likely to be passed along by a food handler passed it along.

Workers at the Jewel must submit stool samples to help health officials determine if an employee started the outbreak.

A Jewel spokeswoman issued a statement saying the well-being of its customers is their “highest priority,” and that the deli was temporarily closed out of an “abundance of caution.” 

“We worked closely with the health department to ensure that our team removed and replaced all necessary product, and cleaned and sanitized all work surfaces, utensils and storage cases. The Service Deli was back open for business the same day by 4 p.m.”

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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.