Pita Hot, the Fullerton, CA restaurant with illnesses that were identified by the crowd-sourcing site iwaspoisoned.com was closed for a second time on June 25.

The Orange County Health Agency reported ongoing foodborne illness as the reason for the second closure. The agency suspended the restaurant’s operating permit. Pita Hot was ordered to cease handling food, close, and remain closed until all conditions warranting closure are corrected.

Orange County first closed Pita Hot on June 19 but permitted it to re-open on June 20. Before it’s allowed to re-open this time, a “responsible party” from Pita Hot must attend an enforcement hearing and all employees must attend a Food Worker Education class.

Employees experiencing vomiting or diarrhea symptoms cannot work until they are free of any signs of illness for at least 72 hours. The restaurant itself must conduct cleaning and disinfection for major pathogens, discard certain foods, and review hygiene procedures.

In following up after Pita Hot re-opened on June 20, an environmental health inspector learned that an employee worked on June 22 while experiencing gastrointestinal illness. Food facilities are prohibited by law from allowing anyone with an infectious disease to come to work.

Pita Hot management earlier reported that two ill employees worked on June 15 and 16, before the first closure.

About one week before the first closure, the crowd-sourcing website, iwaspoisoned.com reported receiving almost 200 reports representing several hundred people who had become ill. Some of the stories were about individuals and families, while others were about attendees at catered events.

The website iwaspoisoned.com, is recently credited with helping to identify several high-profile foodborne illness outbreaks.  It also has released an app designed to help people decide where to go when dining away from home.

The app identifies restaurants with recent reports of food poisoning. Another feature allows users to easily upload photos of restaurant receipts and potentially dangerous food they are served.   

“Food poisoning is a common, costly, and avoidable menace. The app will allow all of us to dine safer, together,” says iwaspoisoned.com founder Patrick Quade.

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