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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Illinois Department of Health Releases Subway Salmonella Hvittingfoss Report

Illinois state health officials have traced a widespread Salmonella outbreak at Subway restaurants to one Central Illinois food distributor. But, in a final report on the incident issued Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health said it could not identify the exact source of the problem, which led to 109 confirmed cases and another 90-plus probable or suspect cases of the illness between late April and June.

sunway.jpgIn the 69-page report, investigators said the “most likely source” of the lettuce, tomatoes and olives linked to the illnesses was Lincoln-based Sysco Central Illinois Inc., which delivered produce to the affected restaurants.

More than 480 workers at the stores had to be tested. A dozen of them were found to be positive for the Hvittingfoss strain of Salmonella. Sangamon County had the most cases with 14, followed by Christian and Ogle counties with nine each.

In the end, 49 restaurants in 28 Central and northern Illinois counties were connected to the outbreak. More than two-dozen people were hospitalized.

  • Nice report from IDPH but it is not signed. Who compiled this report and who is responsible for its content?

    The olives had the highest OR but olives were
    not voluntarily recalled
    not ordered to be destroyed
    not submitted for micro testing

    But yet olives are implicated as one of three possible vehicles in the report.

    Yes I know that there is very little historical evidence linking olives and salmonella…but there is always a first time.

    And there is no mention of studying the methodology of building a sandwich. One person dons a new pair of gloves and handles each food/ingredient with the same gloved hands. Plenty of opportunity to transfer pathogens back and forth from any item on the buffet of sandwhich ingredients.

    The report states that 154 bags of lettuce, 1649 pounds of onions, 29 boxes of peppers and 38 boxes of tomatoes were ORDERED destroyed. Ordered by who? If it was ordered by IDPH, under what authority (police power) did IDPH have to order their destruction? What happened to due process? A typical ‘Emergency Relief Affecting Property’ process would be: Embargo, Seizure, and then Destruction or Return…under the direction of a court. Or did Subway voluntarily order the destruction? Either way, it makes it hard to perform more micro testing on destroyed product (evidence).

    Again, very nice report. Unfortunately statistics will point the finger of blame and confirmed lab results of the etiology are missing.