9 sick from Salmonella in South Carolina

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is investigating nine reports of salmonella poisoning in Beaufort County, including one illness matched to a national cluster of salmonella, according to a state official.

basil.salmonellaThe department has received reports of eight people with gastrointestinal symptoms, and laboratory testing has confirmed “some” are salmonella infections, DHEC spokeswoman Cassandra Harris said Friday.

Health officials received the reports Sept. 19, but have not yet determined if there is a common source that caused the illnesses, she said.

The investigation is ongoing, she added.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has asked for DHEC’s help in investigating a separate, single case of salmonella poisoning that matches a national cluster of salmonella, Harris said.

Not naming names creates problems

Public disclosure avoids a lot of issues.

Luis Nunez, owner of two Corona Mexican restaurants in Spartanburg, South Carolina, told WSPA that health types should be transparent about which restaurant is linked to the E. coli outbreak.

He says limiting the information to a "Spartanburg-area Mexican restaurant" punishes all Mexican restaurant owners in town because people will just avoid eating Mexican in general.

Adam Myrick with DHEC explained the decision not to name the restaurant, saying the agency is confidant there is no "ongoing public health threat."

"Releasing the name of the facility wouldn’t really do anything to further protect the public health," says Myrick.

But it would help consumers make future dining choices and create an additional incentive for food service to get things right.

When 11 people get sick with E. coli and two end up in hospital with HUS, word is going to get around town.

So the restaurant, El Mexicano, went and outed itself, which will earn far more consumer trust long-term than any lame explanation from a lackey health type.

Restaurants sell food. They lose money when people don’t show up; health types don’t lose their jobs, although do have to listen to political types whine about their friends who own restaurants.

Government at any level sets minimal regulations and standards. The best will always go beyond the minimal standard.

11 sick; E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to South Carolina restaurant

South Carolina health inspectors are investigating an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 linked to a Mexican restaurant in Spartanburg.

Adam Myrick, spokesman with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, told the Spartanburg Herald Journal that of the 11 suspected or confirmed cases associated with the same restaurant, two people were infected to a potentially serious level, said.

DHEC is continuing its “multi-faceted investigation” that includes reviewing restaurant menus, food samples and taking stool samples from those who have related symptoms who have eaten at the restaurant.

Myrick wouldn’t confirm the restaurant associated with the outbreak. Myrick said the cases were reported during the last week of April and the first week of May.

DHEC has since inspected the restaurant and does not have a “reason to believe the public is in danger at this time,” Myrick said.

“It’s early in the investigation and we’re piecing together information and talking to people,” Myrick said. “We’ve looked at the facility and found no substantial problems, but again, it’s early.”

The agency issued an alert to local healthcare providers Friday afternoon advising them of the symptoms associated with shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), which include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), vomiting and a mild fever.

South Carolina McDonald’s worker arrested for adding phlegm to sweet tea

It’s disgusting, but a reminder anyone in the food biz is only as good as their worst front-line employee.

The New York Daily News reports a South Carolina McDonald’s worker served customers some Sweet Tea with a side of phlegm.

The incident happened on Saturday when a mother and daughter noticed their tea wasn’t sweetened and returned their drinks in exchange for the correct order, police told WYFF-TV.

When their teas were returned, the duo saw their order wasn’t correct again and were heading home to add their own sweetener. But when they looked in the drink, they noticed both had an stomach-turning side of phlegm floating on top.

Instead of going back to McDonald’s, they went straight to the police station.

"It’s a health issue," Greenville County Sheriff Deputy Laura Campbell told the TV station. "When it becomes bodily fluids you know people have all kinds of contagious viruses and diseases."

Cops nabbed 19-year-old Marvin D. Washington Jr. and charged him with unlawful and malicious tampering of the food, according to the report.

In a statement to the TV station, the franchise owner of that McDonald’s location said his restaurant "has the most stringent food safety and quality standards" and urged customers not to jump to conclusions.

"Nothing is more important to me than the safety and well being of my customers," he added.

Up to 40 ill; possible foodborne illness associated with South Carolina church fundraiser

South Carolina health types advised people who purchased barbeque at a fundraiser at York’s Grace Covenant Church fundraiser on Sept. 16 and 17 to throw the food away.

“The food from this event shouldn’t be eaten by any people or animals,” said Gil Potter, M.D., medical director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Region 3 public health office, which includes York County. “We’ve received reports of more than 40 people who became ill after eating food purchased at the church. More than 300 plates of food were sold, and many people bought barbeque in bulk for freezing and later use.”

According to Potter, all of the people who became ill are reporting the same symptoms, mainly vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

“Tests are under way to identify the cause of the illness and we’ll continue to investigate this situation,” Potter said. “While not conclusive, this fundraiser is one thing in common among the people who got sick. As a precaution, we are advising everyone to immediately discard any food purchased at this fundraiser.”