And so it goes: Marj’s closes following hepatitis A exposure event

When a restaurant’s food safety practices are called into question isn’t usually good business. The restaurant industry isn’t the most stable at the best of times.

Anecdotally, vocal and passionate community members support a local diner or meeting place, even after illnesses; but sales still often plummet.

In 2010, salmonellosis hit 60+ patrons of a Durham, NC BBQ joint, Bullocks. Sam Poley, marketing director for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau said, “This is a long-standing restaurant … 58 years in business … never had anything less than an ‘A’ health rating.” Sales dropped 80% and the usually busy restaurant was close to empty.logo

Three days after being linked to a hepatitis A exposure (where an ill cook was diagnosed with the virus, Marj’s, the Alma, Ontario institution closed it’s doors. According to CTV, owner Keith McLean released the following statement:

There are several factors for Marj’s Village Kitchen Inc. closing, economic times, the remote location for winter traffic, the restaurant has been struggling financially and now the reputation has been tainted.

There has been a serious cash flow problem resulting from this last incident. It is important that staff and patrons seek medical attention, even though the chances are next to nil of contracting this condition from Marj’s.

There has been an outpouring of concern about Marj’s. Management would thank those individuals for their past patronage plus their well wishes. Thank you sincerely.



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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.