The latest reported count from the Central District Health Department (CDHD) in Boise, ID, is “approximately 290 cases” of Salmonella infection linked to the Boise Co-op deli. That tally was posted on Wednesday, July 1. “Preliminary test results showed Salmonella growth in raw turkey, tomatoes and onion. However, additional laboratory tests are pending and the specific cause of the outbreak remains undetermined,” the July 1 updated continued. Four lawsuits have reportedly been filed so far in connection with this outbreak. Previous coverage follows: CDHD spokeswoman Christine Myron told a Boise newspaper that reports of more cases have slowed to a trickle this week after first showing up June 8. The deli was temporarily closed in order to clean up some food preparation processes and put in new sinks. It later reopened after health officials inspected the changes and gave the green light. Also, a third lawsuit has been filed against the co-op in connection with this outbreak. Mary Henesh filed a complaint on Tuesday, stating that she was sickened after eating a turkey sandwich from the deli. Previously reported outbreak details follow: The Boise Co-op deli reopened Friday after a Salmonella outbreak possibly caused by cross-contamination of raw turkey with tomatoes and onions sickened approximately 250 people. The case count was revised Friday in the latest update from the Central District Health Department. Department officials inspected the deli on Friday to check first-hand changes the co-op has made in food preparation and other processes. “We see this as an opportunity to put as many safe practices in place as possible. We have made a couple of changes to the arrangements of the equipment in the back. We have added an additional hand-washing sink just to help with workflow and we will have color-coded cutting boards as well,” Mo Valko, marketing manager for the Boise Co-op, told a local TV station. According to the co-op’s website, employees were busy working to fill the deli cases, “but it will take a few days to get back to full production.” (Previous Food Safety News posts about the situation are below.) There are now 200 confirmed cases of Salmonella infection linked to the Boise (Idaho) Co-op deli, according to the latest update from the Central District Health Department in Boise. Because food items from the co-op deli were sold at the local airport, it’s possible that some of the sickened individuals are from other states. The co-op voluntarily closed the deli on Monday after preliminary test results indicated Salmonella contamination in raw turkey, tomatoes and onions. However, the health department stated Tuesday that additional lab tests are pending. “Upon receiving this new information, we voluntarily closed our Deli and disposed of all foods prepared herein. As an added precaution, any foods purchased from our Deli after June 1, 2015 should be discarded. Please see Customer Service for a refund,” noted a co-op statement posted June 16. The co-op devised a risk-reduction plan and met with health department officials on Wednesday to determine whether it can continue selling food at the deli. According to media reports, the co-op will make some revisions to the plan and redesign its kitchen area for a better flow of food preparation. Those revisions will reportedly include more sinks, different cutting boards for different foods to keep them separate and reduce the risk of cross-contamination, and more food safety training for co-op employees. Another health department visit was said to be planned for Friday. As of Monday, June 15, 60 people had reportedly tested positive for Salmonella and been reported to the health department. That’s a doubling of cases since last week, when the department announced “nearly 30” such individuals had been reported since June 8. Health officials were said to be following up on another 40 reported cases submitted online, but noted there could be duplications among them. Exposure date range is believed to be June 1-7, 2015. “CDHD is currently investigating each reported Salmonella case to help determine the exact source of the illness. So far, there is a possible link to the Boise Co-op. However, other cases not associated with the food establishment have also been detected,” the department’s June 13 statement added. Anyone with questions about the outbreak or who wants to report symptoms of foodborne illness is advised to contact the department here. An Ada County, ID, woman who was sickened after eating a tuna sandwich on June 5 prepared at the co-op has filed a lawsuit. And a Payette County man who became ill after eating a sandwich he bought at the co-op’s deli and had to go to the hospital emergency room for treatment has also filed a lawsuit. They are being represented by Robie G. Russell of the Russell Law Offices and Bill Marler of the Marler Clark food safety law firm, both of Seattle (Marler Clark underwrites Food Safety News.)
Update: Salmonella Cases Linked to Boise Co-op Total Approximately 290, Four Lawsuits Filed
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.