Bakery at Center Of Rhode Island Salmonella Outbreak Ordered Closed

Deaths, illnesses, hospitalizations, pathogens, and inspection violations have surrounded the DeFusco Bakery in Rhode Island. DeFusco’s has been blamed for two deaths and scores of illnesses in connection with the Rhode Island <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">Salmonella outbreak over its contaminated zeppoles, which were widely distributed to a number of other bakery locations, catered events, and a bakery distributor.

Egg crates taken from DeFusco’s and tested by the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) contained the Salmonella bacteria. Unsafe food storage practices were also revealed at Buono’s Bakery. For example, its zeppole, cream puff, and éclair shells were stored in used egg crates, which could lead to contamination from raw eggs, said HEALTH. Annemarie Beardsworth, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health, said that in addition to other violations inspectors found, pastry cream was stored in “unsafe locations,” said Business Week.

Now, DeFusco’s has been ordered to remain closed after having closed on its own last month, said Business Week. Beardsworth said that the Department of Health signed an order last week for DeFusco’s Johnston Bakery and Cranston store to remain closed until its problems are corrected, explained Business Week. The store’s telephone has also been temporarily disconnected.

In the month since reports began emerging, 79 people have been sickened; 78 reported to investigators that they had eaten DeFusco’s pastries. Some 29 people required hospitalization and one remains hospitalized, noted Business Week. And, as we’ve been following, two people have died and were believed to have been poisoned after eating pastries from DeFusco’s.

Not only are these figures expected to continue to grow as the Health Department continues its investigation of the fatalities and the outbreak, but lawsuits against the bakery are also expected to increase.

As we recently wrote, according to an earlier WPRI report, 15 more clients from 10 families filed lawsuits on behalf of sickened family members are from three to 80 years of age. Those involved in the recent 15 lawsuits are seeking monetary expenses for money spent and money likely to be spent for healthcare, as well as pain, suffering, and negligence.

Just prior, The Providence Journal (ProJo) wrote that the mother of a 16-year-old boy who was sickened after eating contaminated zeppoles from DeFusco’s is suing the bakery for damages. Erin Carrera told CNN affiliate WPRI, “I was just infuriated, absolutely infuriated…. As a chef, I’m infuriated by the lack of food handling and food safety that was practiced there and, as a mother, infuriated that my son should have to go through an illness for simply enjoying a couple of zeppoles.”

A release on DeFusco’s website says, “Pastry shells from DeFusco’s had been stored in used egg crates, which could have exposed the shells to infected raw eggs.” As we’ve said, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) said the outbreak was likely caused by consumption of zeppole pastries that came in contact with raw eggs.

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