Spanish sushi restaurant linked to outbreak; also had some odd online reviews

Sushi and sashimi is one of those foods that splits the food safety nerd world. Some folks eat it, some don’t.

That’s really a personal risk management decision.

There’s lots going on in a sushi restaurant risk-wise: holding rice at room temperature for a long time, to allow for easy rolling increases the risk of Bacillus cereus illnesses; the fish can have parasitic worms from the water environment living in them; and, there’s been an ongoing issue related to Salmonella likely due to processing handling (see back scrape).

It can all be done with reduced risk – but it takes dedication from buyers, suppliers and food handlers.

Control the B. cereus in rice with acidification, temperature control or time.

Address parasites with freezing.

Limit Salmonella through supplier controls.

Folks in Majorca, Spain apparently recently ate at a restaurant that wasn’t great at risk management, according to the always fun Sun.

Twenty-four customers fell ill after dining at Dragon Sushi restaurant in the city of Palma de Majorca, in the eastern Spanish region of Majorca.

However, reviewers offered mixed opinions about the grub on offer at the tourist hotspot eatery.

In a review entitled “Worst sushi ever!”, a reviewer said: “This place had the worst sushi I’ve ever had in my life.”

Meanwhile in another review titled “Terrible!! Never go again!! Pinworms in my edamame!!”, another diner said: “I really can’t recommend this sushi restaurant! Worst sushi ever in my life!!”

Local health councillor Patricia Gomez confirmed that 24 cases of food poisoning had taken place among clients who said they ate at the Japanese food outlet last weekend.

A spokeswoman for the Health Department said the victims are suffering symptoms including “gastroenteritis” and further tests are being carried out to find out what caused the illness.

According to local media, many of the victims – including children – are still in hospital after suffering diarrhoea, fever and vomiting.

My amateur epi guess is that it’s a rice/B. cereus outbreak.

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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.