The exact source of contamination has still not been identified and the investigation remains ongoing, according to state health department spokesman David Kibbe. Investigators know that the illnesses are associated with eating at Clover, a chain of vegetarian restaurants and food trucks, in late June.
The restaurant group’s locations were temporarily shut down following the outbreak, and MDH posted their inspection report online. Health officials worked with Clover food handlers to bring their operations up to standard and the restaurants have since reopened.
“Clover Food Labs has been inspected by state and local health departments and they completed the corrective measures necessary to bring them into compliance,” Kibbe said.
Environ Health Associates founder and restaurant safety consultant Ray Costa called Clover’s food safety record “pitiful” in an interview with Food Safety New in late July.
“It was a shocking operation,” Costa said. “They don’t have a food safety program. Let’s put it that way. They were operating by the seat of their pants.”
In follow-up comments to Food Safety News this week, Costa criticized health officials in Massachusetts for allowing the restaurants to continue doing business with critical health violations until an outbreak finally occurred.
“This is a clear case of an operation that operated without any controls, a litany of ignorance, and shameful disregard for the public after repeated citations and nothing done to correct the ongoing risks to the public,” he said.© Food Safety News