Restaurant Still Open After Salmonella Outbreak Caused One Death

February 9, 2018 Updated: February 9, 2018

A Mexican restaurant remains open after one person died and 33 others were sickened by a salmonella outbreak in November last year, according to a report.

Health officials said the restaurant La California in Aurora, Colorado, made 33 people sick after they ate a “family combo” meal, ABC affiliate KMGH reported.

The meal included ingredients such as carnitas, buche (pork belly), cueritos (pork rind), rice, beans, tortillas, salsa, chopped onion, cilantro, and lime wedges.

But investigators could not pinpoint what caused the outbreak, according to FOX31.

The outbreak hospitalized three people. One other person died.

“It was significantly associated with the illness. But we couldn’t ID a single item in the family combo that was associated with the illness. … Everybody ate everything in the family combo,” Tri County Health spokeswoman Jen Chase told CBS Denver.

All who were affected ate at the restaurant between Nov. 4 and Nov. 26, the Tri-County Health Department said. Nearly all reported experiencing diarrhea and abdominal cramping.

The report obtained by KMGH confirmed that at least four cases of salmonella poisoning occurred. Out of the 33 cases, only one was a restaurant employee while the rest were all customers.

The one employee who tested positive for salmonella was banned from working at the restaurant until recovery. But investigators still are unclear if the employee caused the outbreak or was sickened by it like everyone else after coming into contact with the bacteria.

Salmonella is a bacterium estimated to cause about one million foodborne illnesses, 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths in the United States anually, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most related illnesses last 4 to 7 days before recovery, without treatment. But for some people, the diarrhea is so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized to prevent dehydration.

A health inspection at La California on Nov. 22, revealed four “critical” violations: cross-contamination, improper or lack of hand washing, improper hot-holding of foods, improper cooling of foods and lack of hot water at a hand sink, according to KMGH.

The report stated that all the violations were corrected later on Nov. 27, 2017. An inspector wrote that “food safety training is strongly recommended.”

Recent reviews on Yelp tried to warn others about the recent outbreak.

Read Susan W.‘s review of La California on Yelp

Read Leo Y Lou A.‘s review of La California on Yelp


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