Thanks to one of our readers for forwarding the following item by Odessa O. Leyson of The Freeman:
At least 107 residents of Sitio Tawagan in the mountain barangay of Sirao, Cebu City landed in the hospital Tuesday due to diarrhea and severe dehydration.
Nagiel Bañacia, head of the city’s disaster team, said the city health office is now looking into information that the residents suffered from the ailments after eating spaghetti given by an owner of a flower farm there.
Bañacia is withholding the identity of the farm owner until investigation is concluded.
He said the disaster team had to go up the barangay Tuesday night after receiving reports several of those affected were medicating themselves. Many residents have already sought help at the Guba Community Hospital at this point.
The Guba Community Hospital can accommodate only 50 patients, which was why four other doctors, eight nurses, and medical technologists had to be deployed there.
Bañacia said the city government will shoulder the hospital expenses using the disaster fund.
Relaying a violation or noncompliance on an audit or inspection form to a food business is only useful if they result in system or practice changes. Having some sort of a checklist is fine, but if no one learns from the audit/inspection, problems arise. Ignoring risk factors highlighted by a verifier is an organizational values problem: the wrong folks are in managerial positions.
According to the Honolulu Star Adviser, something organizational went wrong at Waipahu Elementary in Hawaii and led to foodborne intoxication in 30 kids. Improper cooling and handling of a pasta dish was pointed too by investigators, and a day later health officials revealed that a September 2013 inspection revealed risky practices – the exact same ones thought to cause the outbreak in December.
Health inspectors cited Waipahu Elementary on Sept. 18 for failing to properly reheat food, according to Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo. The violation also had to do with preparing pasta noodles.
The inspection was part of a routine visit that health officials conduct once a semester.
Okubo said the school’s cafeteria staff was told how to correct the situation and instructed to follow proper time and temperature controls.
Less than three months later, more than 30 children and two adults fell ill after eating lunches prepared in the school’s cafeteria. Some 25 students were taken to area hospitals after experiencing dizziness, nausea and vomiting, and feeling clammy and sweaty.
State health officials have found that bacteria-tainted spaghetti was the cause of an illness that struck dozens of students at Waipahu Elementary School earlier this month.
The state Department of Health said spaghetti cooked the previous day at the Oahu school was not properly heated the day it was served, which created “an environment for bacteria growth.” The food also may not have been properly cooled the day it was cooked, the DOH said in a statement today.
“An inspection and interviews with cafeteria employees revealed food preparation violations that could be corrected with proper training and follow through,” said Peter Oshiro, head of the department’s Sanitation Branch. “We understand the school closed the cafeteria to retrain their food service staff and ensure safe food practices.”
Two adults and more than 30 students came down with dizziness, nausea and vomiting on Dec. 10. School officials immediately suspected food poisoning as the cause.