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Outbreak in Rhode Island Linked to Pastries

A foodborne illness investigation in Rhode Island has prompted a recall of cream-filled baked goods suspected as the cause of a Salmonella outbreak that may involve at least 19 people,  the state’s Department of Health reported Saturday.

In a news release, the Rhode Island Department of Health said nine of the 19 people have tested positive for Salmonella and 13 people have been hospitalized. Many of those who are ill told public health investigators they had eaten zeppole from DeFusco’s Bakeries.

Zeppole, sugared pastry popular in Italian-American communities, is traditionally eaten on March 19, St. Joseph’s Day.

On Friday, the health department announced a recall of all baked goods sold by DeFusco’s. During an inspection of the company’s production facility in Johnston, RI, investigators said they found pastry cream used in zeppole and éclairs stored at unsafe temperatures, as well as unsanitary conditions. Defusco’s owner agreed to close the bakery until further notice.

The health department said zeppole from DeFusco’s Johnston store are sold at all DeFusco’s locations. Crugnale Bakery locations in Providence, East Providence, North Providence, Cranston, and Cumberland also sold DeFusco’s zeppole from March 16 through March 20.  State food inspectors also believe that zeppole from DeFusco’s are sold at Calvitto’s in Narragansett and Sal’s Bakery in Providence, based on information from DeFusco’s owner.

Consumers who purchased pastries from any DeFusco’s Bakery or zeppole from any of the above locations should immediately discard any uneaten product. Anyone who has eaten baked goods purchased from DeFusco’s Bakery or zeppoles purchased from any of the above locations and has gotten sick (especially with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) should contact their healthcare provider immediately for evaluation and treatment.

The average incubation period for Salmonella is one to three days after eating contaminated food. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, and fever and usually last for four to seven days. People who are at higher risk for developing more serious symptoms are young children, the elderly and anyone who is immunocompromised. 

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