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Posted February 3, 2016

Public Health recently investigated two illnesses associated with Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant located at 418 8th Avenue South in Seattle. Two people (both male) ate at the restaurant on 1/18/16 and became ill with gastrointestinal symptoms, fever and headache on 1/19/16; neither were hospitalized. Symptoms and timing of illness onset were consistent with the diarrheal form of Bacillus cereus or Clostridium perfringens. The food source that led to these illnesses is unknown, but both people ate dishes containing meat, which is a frequent vehicle for bacterial toxins such as B. cereus or C. perfringens. No tests were done with the two ill people 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 learned of the outbreak on 1/19/16. No other illnesses associated with this restaurant have been reported since then. An investigation of the restaurant found several problems including improper cooling, inadequate cold-holding, and inadequate temperature monitoring of foods that are potentially hazardous. Inspectors held an administrative hearing with restaurant management which included a review of proper cooking, cooling, and food storage. Inspectors will return to the restaurant to follow up on these procedures.

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, refrigerating quickly after cooking, or holding at a minimum of 135 degrees.