Seattle/King County Public Health is investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis with abdominal cramps and diarrhea associated with Rancho Bravo Tacos at 1001 East Pine St, Seattle. Four people from a single party became ill soon after eating food at the restaurant on 4/22/17; none were hospitalized. Symptoms and timing of illness onset are suggestive of a bacterial toxin from Bacillus cereus or Clostridium perfringens. No tests were done to confirm which pathogen caused the illness: bacterial toxin illnesses are typically short-lived and by the time people seek care – if they do at all – it is too far from exposure to test.
Public Health received the report of illnesses on 4/24/17 but has not received any other recent reports of illness associated with this restaurant. As part of the Public Health investigation, Environmental Health Investigators visited the restaurant on 4/25/17. During the field inspection, improper cooling and hot holding of potentially hazardous foods were identified, factors that may have contributed to this foodborne illness outbreak. Foods that were prepared over the weekend were discarded and improper food handling practices that were identified during the inspection were also corrected. The restaurant is working cooperatively with Public Health. A return visit will be conducted within 14 days to ensure that these corrected practices remain in place.
B. cereus and C. perfringens are both bacteria that grow rapidly at room temperature. When cooking potentially hazardous foods, it’s important to keep food out of the danger zone, which is 41 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit by serving while the food is still hot, placing hot food into shallow pans and directly into the refrigerator to cool food quickly, or holding at a minimum of 135 degrees.