The illness outbreak connected to fruit candies that sickened nearly 2,000 people in the Philippines was likely caused by poor worker hygiene at the production facility, resulting in contamination by Staphylococcus aureus, according to newly released test results.
After health authorities ran tests of samples of candy in search of foodborne bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, results turned up Staphylococcus, a common bacteria often found on human skin and associated with dirty hands and body sweat in food facility settings.
Authorities are still testing for potential chemical contamination as well, but noted that they did not find other bacteria besides Staphylococcus.
Symptoms of infection include vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea, which were all reported among the 1,925 confirmed cases — most of them children. At least 66 patients were reportedly still hospitalized as of Tuesday.
The candies were manufactured by Wendy’s Delicious Durian Candy and one other company whose name has not been disclosed. The local city government suspended the licenses of the two companies until they could be inspected by health authorities.
Investigators are saying the contamination may have occurred during processing if contaminated workers dripped sweat onto the candies or mishandled them in some other way.
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