The crowd-sourcing site iwaspoisoned.com has again identified a restaurant that apparently has been making people sick, but there is not yet any official confirmation by local health authorities.
In the past seven days, almost 200 people have named Pita Hot on East Chapman Avenue in Fullerton, CA, as the suspected source behind symptoms that are generally associated with foodborne illnesses, including diarrhea, abdominal cramps and nausea.
The number of people who have become ill isn’t known, but several of those who filed reports on iwaspoisoned.com said they were members of groups or attendees of catered events where numerous people became ill after eating food from Chapman Avenue location of Pita Hot.
The restaurant is under the jurisdiction of the Orange County health department. The department did not respond to a request from Food Safety News Friday seeking comment on the situation. However, iwaspoisoned.com founder Patrick Quade said he believed the department was looking into the reports.
Quade said he and staff at the crowd-funded website started noticing the Pita Hot name and location in multiple reports a few days ago. Some of the reports to iwaspoisoned.com involved group events where multiple attendees became ill. Quade and other staff throughly vet all reports to the website before posting them.
“I ate lunch at a lunch meeting Tuesday and started feeling sick Wednesday at 2 a.m.,” one person wrote. “Uncontrollable diarrhea, painful cramps, headache, fever, and body aches. Couldn’t eat for 2 days and it’s been 3 days and am slowly recovering.”
Pita Hot passed the Orange County health department’s inspection on Jan. 15 this year, but not without picking up some violations. Inspectors gave it a “red” or severe violation, requiring immediate correction. The Jan. 15 inspection was the first since the ownership of Pita Hot was acquired by George Liddawi of NJoy foods Inc. from Chic Chic Inc.
Pita Hot’s new owner had to address the restaurant’s ability to cool potentially hazardous foods rapidly. Rapid cooling requires taking hazardous foods from 135 degrees to 41 degrees within six hours. Within two hours, such foods must be cooled to 70 degrees.
Less severe blue violations found at Pita Hot involved food debris that needed to be removed and repairs needed to address exposed particle board around counters and cabinets.
iwaspoisoned.com has accurately identified a number of foodborne illness outbreaks, including some involving Chipotle locations. The burrito chain suffered huge stock losses after a string of six foodborne illness outbreaks in the last six months of 2015.
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