Foodborne illness outbreak investigation summary
Posted June 3, 2016
Public Health investigated an outbreak of gastroenteritis with vomiting, diarrhea, aches and nausea associated with Miller’s Guild restaurant at 621 Stewart Street, in Seattle. Eight people from one party became ill after eating at the restaurant on 5/19/2016; there were no hospitalizations. Symptoms and timing of illness onset are suggestive of a bacterial toxin from Bacillus cereus or Clostridium perfringens. No tests were done 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. Commonly consumed food items that may have caused the illnesses include the charcuterie plate and french fries.
Public Health learned of the outbreak on 5/23/16. No other illnesses associated with this restaurant have been reported since then. An investigation of the restaurant found several violations including improper hot-holding, inadequate cold-holding, handling ready-to-eat foods with bare hands, and not having permission to vacuum pack foods. Public Health educated restaurant management on the risks involved in vacuum packing foods, and explained the procedures to obtain the appropriate health permits required to assure it’s being done safely. 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.