Lots of support for restaurant that had food handler with hepatitis A

n a truly Canadian move, more than 70 owners, management and staff from Sudbury bars and restaurants ate and drank at a Sudbury, Ontario (that’s in Canada) Casey’s in a show of solidarity. In early February over a thousand patrons might have been exposed to hepatitis A after a food handler was diagnosed with the virus. According to The Sudbury Star, even the local health unit, the folks who ran the hep A shot clinics, hosted a retirement party for over 40 folks at the restaurant.default-1

Last week, Peddler’s Pub invited fellow establishments to join them in a show of support for the Kingsway bar and grill, which suffered a publicity setback last month when an employee was diagnosed with hepatitis A and patrons were urged to get vaccines through the Sudbury and District Health Unit.

“It’s one of those unfortunate things that can happen to any restaurant,” said Peddler’s marketing manager Cliff Skelliter. “Casey’s is such an important part of our community. A lot of people have jobs there and the owners are amazing, just absolute sweethearts.”

Dave Temmerman, co-owner of Hard Rock, brought a contingent of 14 people affiliated with his Elm Street pub.

“In times like this it’s nice to know who your friends are and stick together,” said Temmerman.

The public should have no fear of dining at Casey’s, he said, as standards of hygiene at this restaurant are as strict as any he’s encountered.

“I’ve worked in a lot of places, and it’s one of the cleanest I’ve worked in,” he said. “What happened to them is just a bad deal. People in the industry know it can happen to anybody, and it’s not because their place is dirty.”

Casey’s owner Marty Wills said the endorsement of counterparts means a lot.

“It’s wonderful what all the other restaurants have done,” he said. “They’ve been getting together and showing a little love, a little support for us, because they understand we didn’t do anything wrong.”

The hepatitis A that was detected in a Casey’s employee “was never created here,” said Wills. “She just happened to work here.”

Having a clean restaurant (whatever that means) doesn’t really matter; in this situation, risk is influenced by the food handler’s handwashing behavior. US FDA risk factor studies have shown that handwashing compliance in food service isn’t great. Requiring your staff to have hep A vaccinations would avoid stuff like this.

Sudbury, Ontario Casey’s patrons potentially exposed to hep A

Growing up in the bustling metropolis of Port Hope, Ontario (that’s in Canada) with it’s population of 10,000 hosers, restaurant choices were limited. We often made the 10km drive to Cobourg, where Casey’s was the place to be. I can trace 30lbs of my body mass to their chicken wings, ribs and potato skins.

A Sudbury, Ontario (that’s also in Canada) Casey’s restaurant is, according to the Sudbury Star, dealing with a hepatitis A situation, with over 1000 patrons lining up for post exposure shots.default

Sudburians and others who dined at a popular restaurant last month clearly took a warning to heart that was issued last week by the Sudbury & District Health Unit. Anyone who ate at Casey’s Bar & Grill from Jan. 1 to 20, especially from Jan. 15-20, was urged to get assessed and have a hepatitis A vaccination after a restaurant employee was confirmed as having the illness.

By Monday morning, nurses at the health unit had administered 1,056 hepatitis A shots in three days of free clinics and they weren’t finished. They were working extended hours Monday, but were to return to their normal 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. routine Tuesday. Holly Browne said the vaccination, which usually costs $60 for adults and $40 for children, is most effective two weeks after exposure although the incubation period for hepatitis A is 50 days.

The health unit fielded more than 1,000 phone calls in three days, screening those who ate at Casey’s from Jan. 1-14 and offering vaccinations to those who dined there from Jan. 15-20. The health unit was notified that the employee had contracted hepatitis A by a laboratory that did blood testing on the person. Hepatitis A is a reportable disease.

Casey’s issued a statement after the health unit reported the case of hepatitis A infection Thursday. It said the affected employee will be on sick leave until fully recovered. Casey’s voluntarily closed its restaurant Thursday and reopened Friday after undergoing a thorough, third-party sanitization of kitchen equipment and the entire restaurant. Its employees attended a vaccination clinic Thursday.