The Washoe County Health District believes that the E. coli O157:H7 contamination of the desserts (chocolate mousse) manufactured at Reno Provisions resulted from cross-contamination that occurred during the dessert’s production. According to Health District officials the food manufacturer has cooperated fully with investigators. The source of the contamination has been addressed and no additional contaminated food items have been identified.
Due to the cross-contamination which occurred at Reno Provisions and its connection to special food processing operations conducted there, the Health District has directed Reno Provisions to halt these special operations until detailed plans are submitted for review and approval by the Health District. The plans will be established through a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system approach, which addresses analysis and control of hazards during the food production processes. The plans will establish active administrative controls for these special food processing operations at Reno Provisions prior to the continuation of these processes.
According to a statement released by Reno Provisions, owner Mark Estee, the E. coli made its way into the kitchen through the cross-contamination of meat and dessert processing equipment.
“Our food production records allowed us to quickly identify that the wrong mixer was used to blend meat, transferring contaminants to the dessert,” Estee said. “This was an isolated incident that violated our preparation protocols.”
Since mid-October twenty-two confirmed and probable cases of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported in Washoe County. The majority of the cases had eaten at a local restaurant (Twisted Fork), which served a dessert (chocolate mousse) manufactured by Reno Provisions. Health District epidemiologists and environmentalists traced the source through hundreds of hours of investigation, interviewing people and testing foods, until the E. coli O157:H7 source was identified.