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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Rhode Island DeFusco’s Bakery pastry cream used in zeppoles and éclairs linked to Salmonella Outbreak

zeppoles.jpgThe Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella, possibly related to yesterday’s recall of baked goods, including zeppoles. HEALTH has received reports of 19 people who are ill, with a common characteristic among many as having consumed zeppoles from DeFusco’s Bakery. Nine of the 19 people have tested positive for Salmonella and 13 people have been hospitalized. HEALTH’s Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Office of Food Protection, and the State Laboratory continue to investigate the source of the illness and are working to identify additional retail outlets where DeFusco’s sells cream pastries.

To date HEALTH has learned that zeppoles from DeFusco’s Johnston store are sold at all DeFusco’s locations. All five Crugnale Bakery locations in Providence, East Providence, North Providence, Cranston, and Cumberland also sold DeFusco’s zeppoles from March 16 through March 20. HEALTH food inspectors also believe that zeppoles from DeFusco’s are sold at Calvitto’s in Narragansett and Sal’s Bakery in Providence, based on information from DeFusco’s owner.

Anyone who purchased baked goods from any DeFusco’s Bakery or zeppoles from any of the above locations should immediately discard any uneaten product. Anyone who has eaten baked goods purchased from DeFusco’s Bakery or zeppoles purchased from any of the above locations and has gotten sick (especially with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) should contact their healthcare provider immediately for evaluation and treatment.

Yesterday the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) announced a recall of all baked goods sold at DeFusco’s Bakeries following an inspection of the Johnston store where the pastries were made. HEALTH staff found pastry cream that is used in zeppoles and éclairs was stored at unsafe temperatures as well as unsanitary conditions in the store. The owner of DeFusco’s Bakery in Johnston (the production facility) voluntarily closed the bakery until further notice.

Man, this sounds familar:

In the early spring of 2002, the Macomb County Health Department (MCHD) and Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) investigated a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak associated with the Black Forest Cakes & Pastries shop in Macomb, Michigan. MCHD’s epidemiologic investigation into the outbreak established that illness was significantly associated with consumption of cannolis or cassata cakes made at the bakery. In addition, MDA’s environmental investigation of the shop revealed food handling practices that could have contributed to Salmonella contamination:

* Failure to properly sanitize equipment, utensils, and food contact surfaces.

* Sharing towels to dry surfaces and utensils.

* Failure to adequately emphasize frequent and effective hand washing.

Of the 196 individuals who reported illness, 46 tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis and 24 were hospitalized. Four food samples from the Black Forest Cakes and Pastries shop also tested positive for Salmonella.