Sandwich artist says Subway manager made her work while ill

Norovirus is the perfect human pathogen. With its low median infectious dose and stability, norovirus is built to be transferred. Beyond its durability, billions of particles can be shed in every gram of feces and vomit from an infected individual and can be transferred well via fomites, food and water.

Sort of a nightmare for a restaurant if one of their kitchen staff shows up to work ill.

And a worse situation is when a manager says to an ill food handler that she can’t go home until after the lunch rush.images

Which is apparently what happened at a Freeport, Texas Subway. According to Emily Thomas at the Huffington Post, former sandwich artist Elizabeth Taff was eventually fired for wanting to go home because she had vomited.

A Subway worker in Freeport, Texas, claims she was forced to continue working her shift while suffering from a stomach bug, then was fired the same day.

Elizabeth Taff, 24, says she was so sick she could barely stand up straight and vomited several times during her shift on July 11, but her manager refused to let her leave unless she found someone to cover her shift.

“About 40 minutes into my shift I felt nauseous. My mouth started watering, and I knew I was about to vomit. I ran into the restroom and vomited repeatedly,” Taff told The Huffington Post. “I went and let my manager know, [but] she told me to find my own replacement after lunch rush.”

Taff says she then summoned enough strength to get through the lunch rush, hoping to track down another employee to fill in for her. But no one else was available, she said.

She noticed vomit on her work clothes and, rather than take a pay cut for a new work shirt, phoned home for someone to bring her a clean outfit, she said. She also maintains she didn’t leave work for fear of getting fired and losing her paycheck.

Speaking to local news outlet KPRC, Taff expressed concern for the impact her sickness could have had on customers.

“I was touching everybody’s sandwiches,” she said. “I’m like, ‘This ain’t right.’ I had gloves on but that doesn’t matter.”

Ultimately, though, she was fired that day. Subway asserts the decision was due to her “poor performance and insubordination,” reports KPRC.

“I was on my knees [on the grass outside the restaurant], while [the manager] berated me with remarks such as ‘you’re so stupid, if you cant handle working while feeling ill you don’t need to work here, all you had to do was switch shirts and finish your shift,'” Taff told HuffPost. “She told me I was fired since I was unable to talk, due to vomiting all over the place.”

3 staff infected: pizza joint closed because of norovirus

County environmental health officials have ordered the closing of a popular Walnut Creek pizza restaurant after test results confirmed that customers and restaurant staff have norovirus.

Contra Costa County Environmental Health Director Marilyn Underwood said the county ordered California Pizza Kitchen at Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, closed at 5 p.m. Thursday after receiving lab resulting confirming norovirus.

County officials have linked the norovirus to a foodborne illness outbreak connected with salad served Thursday, June 7, at the California Pizza Kitchen at Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek.

County officials went to the restaurant Thursday evening and posted a notice closing the restaurant under the authority of state law. They asked the staff to close the restaurant. The staff quietly asked customers to leave, Underwood said.
The first batch of samples came back Thursday. Of five employees tested, three positive for norovirus, Underwood said. Of two customers tested, both were positive for norovirus.

Underwood said staffers have interviewed 11 people who ate salad at CPK June 7 and subsequently suffered gastrointestinal symptoms.

The county is looking for other people who ate at CPK that day or in subsequent days and may have suffered gastrointestinal symptoms. They are asked to call the Environmental Health Division of Contra Costa Health Services in Concord at (925) 692-2500.

The Environmental Health Division received complaints and visited the restaurant Tuesday. In their inspections and observations, they have suggested several improvements in food handling and hygiene for restaurant workers to make, Underwood said. California Pizza Kitchen staff have been cooperative, Underwood said.

Saudi Arabia steps up raids on Yanbu eateries after E. coli infection, asks consumers to report food safety violations

Arab News reports that inspection teams from the Yanbu municipality shut down 10 eateries for various violations last year. Many restaurant staffers who were found working in unhygienic conditions had been subjected to medical tests.

A total of 45 bacteria contamination cases were detected during the inspection, and there were 18 workers infected with bacteria, including E.coli.

Speaking to Arab News, Abdul Aali Al-Sheikh, head of the Ya nbu municipality, said inspection teams collected about 890 samples from restaurants, cafeterias, bakeries and outlets for soft drinks during 2011. The affected workers were barred from working at eateries until they recovered from infections. They were allowed to resume duty only after producing a fitness certificate from the Ministry of Health.

“The municipality is giving top priority to ensure environment health, as it is directly related to public health. Subsequently, we will intensify raids on restaurants, food warehouses, and candy stores to ensure that they are preparing dishes and keeping foodstuffs in hygienic conditions,” he said while urging citizens and foreigners to extend cooperation to the municipality in this regard through informing about those eateries that violate health and hygienic regulations.

Operations cancelled as UK hospital staff hit by food poisoning at party

Patients about to go into surgery at Poole Hospital were left angry after being told to get dressed and go home because staff had fallen ill after a party.

One woman told the Daily Echo about her experience.

“We had all got into our nighties and dressing gowns when they told us our ops had been cancelled. They were making another date because all the doctors and anaesthetists went out for a party, had a good drink and some got food poisoning. Everyone was disgusted.”

The hospital’s director of nursing and patient safety Martin Smits confirmed a “number of staff” became unwell after an event in a non-clinical part of the hospital on Thursday, July 21.

Australian KFC staff tell of food fights, poor hygiene

For years, no matter where I lived, there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken fast-food restaurant nearby – what’s now called KFC — and the scent of special herbs and spices was in the air and in my clothing.

I’d eat the stuff once a year, and immediately regret the indulgence.

There’s a tragic case involving a KFC that is being heard by the Australian Supreme Court involving 11-year-old Monika Samaan, who is suing KFC, claiming the source of her salmonella poisoning was a Twister her father said he bought at the outlet on October 24, 2005.

In testimony today, three former staff at KFC Villawood, near Sydney said they would drop chicken pieces on the floor, help themselves to food and throw chicken strips at each other as ‘pranks.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports KFC has denied responsibility for Samaan’s illness, which has left her with severe brain damage and quadriplegia.

Hatem Alhindawiq, 20, who began working at the Villawood branch in September 2005, told the court that a few weeks after he started there he and his friends would lock each other in the cool room and ”maybe chuck chips … at each other, that kind of stuff”.

They would also throw chicken nuggets and chicken strips and ”muck around, slap each other and run away, all that sort of stuff”, he said, adding that chicken strips were ”the easiest to chuck”.

Mr Alhindawiq said he saw a friend who was a cook at the outlet accidentally drop a piece of chicken as he was unloading the deep fry basket. It fell onto a ”breading table” where chicken is floured before being cooked, and then onto the floor. ”He was like, ‘Oh, don’t worry’ … look, it’s only flour,’ and he grabbed it and he chucked it back in.”

Danielle Cabassi, 19, who worked at the branch for two years from 2005, said she often saw the cooks fail to wash their hands between working with raw chicken and removing cooked chicken from the fryer. They would use tongs, but there was still blood on their hands, the interior student said.

OMG!!! New York’s American Girl Cafe reopens after noro outbreak

Tween girls unite: American Girl Place, the tourist-friendly Fifth Avenue high-end doll shop and lunch spot for tween girls, reopened Saturday after being closed several days for a stomach bug outbreak.

The restaurant closed Wednesday after three people who had dined there earlier in the week called to say they all got sick afterward.

A check of past inspections on the department’s website found few, if any, problems with the food at American Girl Place.

Rather, the department figured the problem was a highly-contageous norovirus, or stomach bug that causes vomiting, diarrhea and cramps, usually for one or two days.

Do some reporting, figure out if any of the staff were working while barfing.

Fat Duck won’t face charges – ‘I’ll never set foot in there again’ says food poisoning victim

The Telegraph reports this morning that Heston Blumenthal and the Fat Duck restaurant – home to 529 cases of norovirus earlier this year – will not face criminal charges despite failures in reporting illness and what appears to be an overall lack of food safety awareness.

Windsor and Maidenhead Council said that although the restaurant could have taken greater steps to combat the norovirus outbreak, there was insufficient evidence to take formal action.

Jim Rosenthal, the television sports presenter, who was among those affected after dining at the restaurant to celebrate his wife Chrissy’s birthday, said,

“I’m disappointed but not surprised. Unfortunately, the council has probably been forced to take a pragmatic view and decide against what would probably be the enormous cost of mounting a case against someone who can afford the best lawyers." If it was a café at a lay-by doing what he did they would have been taken to court long ago. Chrissy and I will never set foot in there again.”

Boxing promoter Frank Warren, who is also still awaiting compensation, said,

"The whole way they have handled this has been a disaster from start to finish. To hear that the council isn’t going to take him on doesn’t surprise me – it’s just because of who he is rather than what he’s done or not done.”

A spokeswoman for the Duckster claimed that the HPA report was "flawed" and continued to blame others.

“We are not surprised by the local authority’s decision, given that the Health Protection Agency’s report clearly concludes that responsibility for the outbreak lies with a shellfish supplier and the local water authority after its shellfish was contaminated with the norovirus. Regarding the assumptions made about The Fat Duck in the report, both our own experts and those appointed by our insurers believe them to be flawed.”

Customer can’t get south of the border, shoots Taco Bell staff

It must suck to work in food service. Minimum wage, nerds like me telling staff to pay attention to food safety, and occasionally getting shot at by customers.

A man who was refused service around three in the morning by staff at Taco Bell on the outskirts of Miami waited outside in his white sports utility vehicle and when staff exited, he shot and wounded one female employee in the leg.

The victim was treated at a local hospital. Police are asking for help with their inquiry.

Health agency reports Fat Duck was slow to report food scare; celebrity chef says everything’s fine; 529 barfing diners disagree

Celebrity chef, molecular gastrologest and Alton Brown-Mats Sundin love child, Heston Blumenthal may be delusional. Or illiterate. He certainly didn’t read the report from the U.K. Health Protection Agency which was released this morning.

“Several weaknesses in procedures at the restaurant may have contributed to ongoing transmission including: delayed response to the incident; staff working when they should have been off sick and using the wrong environmental cleaning products. Delays in notification of illness may have affected the ability of the investigation to identify the exact reason for the norovirus contamination.”

Blumenthal responded in an e-mailed release:

“We are glad that the report has finally been published and draws a conclusion to the closure of the Fat Duck and more importantly that the norovirus has been identified as the cause and not due to any lapse in our strict food preparation processes. We were affected by this virus during a national outbreak of what is an extremely common and highly contagious virus. The restaurant has been open as normal since March 12 and I would like to reassure our guests that they can continue to visit us with total confidence.”

Sourcing food is the chef’s job; serving raw oysters is silly; delaying the reporting of illnesses is dumb; sick employees working and furthering the spread of the virus is stupid. No confidence at all.