About three dozen people became ill after attending an event in Beaumont this month, including a 1-year-old boy who had seizures that night, and health officials are investigating what the source was and whether all symptoms are due to A food. Transmission disease.
The Fat Greek restaurant in Yucaipa organized the event, which co-owner Chris Houvardas said was a baby shower. Houvardas insisted that his food was not to blame, and noted that people at the party also brought their own food, and that there was a very sick girl in attendance. "For our part, they did everything they were supposed to do," he said of his staff.
The baby welcome party took place on January 6, and health officials said about 70 people attended. According to a report from the Division of Environmental Health Services of San Bernardino County, which did not identify any of the people involved, 38 of them became ill with symptoms ranging from nausea and dizziness to diarrhea and vomiting.
That agency has been investigating the restaurant, while the Division of Disease Control of the Riverside County Health Department is interviewing people who got sick because most of them live in Riverside County. The investigations have not been completed, but could result in a corrective action against the fat Greek if it is discovered that some problem contributed to the outbreak, a spokeswoman said.
Several people were so sick that they went to the emergency room or urgent care. The paramedics were called for the baby who was having seizures.
It is not clear if the seizures were directly related to the foodborne disease. Barbara Cole, chief of disease control in Riverside County, had no information about whether the child had a history of seizures, the doctor's findings, or the child's current status.
"I could not say that a small one with an attack was due to this outbreak," he said.
Like Houvardas, Cole also noted that some of the food eaten at the event was homemade, and said his agency is still evaluating what caused the disease.
A restaurant inspector visited Fat Greek on January 11 to begin a thorough investigation, including interviewing the operator on how the food is prepared and the equipment tested.
All the foods badyzed that day were within a safe temperature range, but the inspector found that a product refrigerator had 50 degrees in the lower rack, which is not within the safe range. However, the operator told the inspector that all the ingredients that had to be kept cold for the event attended on January 6 would have been in a different refrigerator that worked properly.
A graded inspection was also conducted on January 11, which resulted in a score of 84, a B rating, which San Bernardino County considers "generally acceptable." The only major infraction was that an employee did not wash his or her hands before putting on gloves and making a salad; There were also 10 minor violations. Online records dating back to 2014 show that the restaurant has been inspected seven more times during those years and received all the ratings.
Houvardas defended the practices of his restaurant.
"I work my butt to keep a clean place," he said. "You could eat from the ground here."
He said that all the food he served that day came from the same provider he has used for years and that supplies other restaurants in the area. He said the employees chewed some of the food that was left when they were breaking the event, and none of them got sick. And no customer who ate the same dishes served at the restaurant during the weekend reported that he became ill, he said.
Greek restaurant Fat has been in Yucaipa for 13 years, said Houvardas, who described his business as "a family affair."
"Our reputation, we really try to take care of it," he said.
Cole said his agency is investigating one or two outbreaks of foodborne illnesses per year; A recent investigation was about a wedding in the San Timoteo canyon in September, where more than 30 people got sick. However, he said it is unusual for cases to involve so many patients.
Cole recommended frequent hand washing as a way to avoid getting sick. He also said that food does not taste good or does not seem right, people should stop eating it. And if someone gets sick, they should contact a health care provider so they can be evaluated.
The department also conducts outreach activities with medical professionals to ensure that they are aware of notification requirements so that outbreaks like this can be discovered and investigated.