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Outbreak Salmonella Strain Closes Texas Restaurant

Fuego Tortilla Grill Voluntarily Shuts Down

UPDATE:  Fuego Tortilla Grill reopened Saturday after being closed for 12 hours during which the College Station restaurant under went a deep cleaning. All open and prepared foods on the premises were discarded along with used cutting boards that were being used to cut both raw and cooked chicken. The restaurant has also switched to pasteurized liquid eggs instead of fresh, shelled eggs to limit exposure to the bacteria and is adopting new food handler procedures including the use of cleaning logs for all shifts.

Shortly after state and local health officials on Friday named it the likely source of an ongoing outbreak of the Ohio serotype of Salmonella Typhimurium, Fuego Tortilla Grill in College Station, TX, voluntarily shut its doors.

Just before it closed, the Brazos County Health Department announced that the restaurant had become “statistically significant” in the Salmonella outbreak investigation that it’s had underway with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

In a statement, the department said it has been investigating a cluster of Salmonella cases since last September, with 30 initial cases confirmed and 26 involving either residents or visitors to the county. No deaths have been reported.

The local health department collected environmental samples from the restaurant on May 13, and four of the 36 samples tested positive for the rare Ohio strain.

“A specific exposure source, such as food handling procedures, food supply or an infected employee has not been specifically identified, but is currently under investigation,” the statement noted.

The department said Fuego closed Friday upon hearing about the lab results and is cooperating with the investigation.

Fuego is a popular restaurant in College Station, home of Texas A&M University and its student enrollment of slightly less than 59,000.

Customers on the restaurant’s Facebook page were staying supportive. “Aggies aren’t going to give up on you guys,” one wrote.

More information about the outbreak is expected at a Saturday morning press conference.

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