Staphylococcus aureus Attorney

th55 men, women and children have shown symptoms that include vomiting and severe stomach pains.

The Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) has determined that a food item served Sunday night at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall contained Staphylococcal enterotoxin, a common cause of foodborne illness that produces symptoms consistent with those reported by the affected individuals.

The toxin is caused by Staphylococcus aureus, common bacteria found on the skin that does not usually cause illness—unless it is introduced into improperly heated or cooled food. Staph bacteria are most often introduced into food when food handlers touch food with their bare hands. If that food is within the “food danger zone” of 40°F to 140°F, the bacteria can then grow and produce the toxin.

“This is an important reminder to anyone who prepares food—either commercially or at home—that hand washing, avoiding bare-hand contact with food, and keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold are all essential to preventing illness,” said Andrea Gamble, SLCoHD environmental health scientist.

“This incident at St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall appears to be an isolated food handling error,” said Gamble. “Unfortunately, a single lapse in temperature controls or food-contact protocols can cause problems.“

It is relatively rare to identify the specific organism that caused a foodborne illness outbreak. Health department epidemiologists and environmental health scientists began work late Sunday night to interview those affected and to inspect various kitchens and food items identified by those ill. The Utah Public Health Lab ultimately isolated the staph toxin from a food sample late Thursday night.

“It doesn’t really matter which specific organism caused this unfortunate illness,” continued Gamble. “Whether it had been salmonella, norovirus, or staph—the important message is that proper food handling will help prevent them all.”

The Marler Clark Christmas potluck is next week.

According to news reports, the food poisoning outbreak at an office Christmas party at Maitland Colonnades on Wednesday sickened 55 people, and 25 were transported to area hospitals – a “staph” party?

Health department officials are conducting interviews and running tests on food samples and bodily fluids to find the source.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, which licenses restaurants and caterers, has identified Kitchen Divas as the caterer of the event. The company was last inspected in July. It passed inspection but had five violations, four of which were basic, such as shelf under preparation table soiled with food debris and standing water in hand-wash sink. One was intermediate: the probe thermometer was not within the intended measuring range of use.

At least five health department epidemiologists are performing what’s called a trace-back investigation. They’re talking to patients, the business and the caterer to find the common link.

“They certainly think it was a food-borne illness,” said Dain Weister, public information officer for Florida Department of Health in Orange and Seminole Counties.

Given that people got sick quickly with diarrhea and vomiting, “the immediate organism that comes to mind is Staph,” said Alfred Aleguas, managing director of the Tampa poison center. Staph is one of the most common causes of food poisoning, he said.  Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, is a common bacterium found on the skin and nose of nearly a quarter of people and animals. It usually doesn’t cause an illness, but it can make several types of toxins, some of which cause food poisoning.

Here is my take on local radio.