Likely Source of Subway Salmonella Outbreak Identified

According to a final report issued by the state Department of Public Health in Illinois, the source of a recent outbreak of <"">Salmonella that was linked to a number of Illinois Subway restaurants, likely originated with Sysco Central Illinois Inc.

Sysco is a worldwide leader in the sale, advertising, and distribution of food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational companies, lodging firms, and other interests that prepare meals outside of the home, according to its website, said the Lincoln Courier. Sysco also makes equipment and other supplies for food service and hospitality.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) investigation prompted the report that could not fully point to Sysco as the source of the outbreak, said the Lincoln Courier. Melanie Arnold, a spokeswoman for the IDPH, said that despite the Department’s inability to definitively name Sysco, all the “common denominators” pointed to the firm since it was a distributor to all of the involved Subway restaurants, explained the Lincoln Courier.

Arnold noted that 109 cases of Salmonella were confirmed and that another 90 so-called “probable” cases all took place from late April to June of this year, wrote the Lincoln Courier; 28 people were hospitalized and 12 of Subway’s food handlers tested positive for the dangerous Salmonella pathogen. It is believed that lettuce, tomatoes, and olives, were the culprits, said Arnold.

Samples tested from Sysco’s distribution facility this June, following a number of complaints of Salmonella poisoning, were negative for the pathogen, as were the Subway employees who were tested before being permitted to return to work, according to the Lincoln Courier.

As of our last report, one lawsuit has been filed, others have been threatened, and more are expected in the outbreak that affected 47 restaurants in 28 counties. The outbreak involved the rare, sometimes deadly, Salmonella Hvittingfoss infection. According to a prior Reuters report, the poisonings took place from May 11 to June 5.
The Illinois Department of Public Health collaborated with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Subway restaurant chain, and local health departments.

Subway recently issued a public apology, said The Associated Press (AP) previously, with Subway’s corporate spokesman Kevin Kane saying that the firm was sorry for the problems. Kane pointed out that those sickened ate at Subway prior to June 3 and confirmed that Subway has thrown out and replaced lettuce, green peppers, red onions, and tomatoes, wrote the AP.

Subway restaurants were implicated in another, large food poisoning outbreak that involved the pathogen, Shigella, and was linked to a Subway in Lombard, Illinois. Illnesses reached 116, with 13 hospitalizations in that outbreak. The Shigella bacteria involved were Shigella sonnei, which can be lethal. The DuPage County Health Department never found the source of the Shigella, and concedes it may never be able to.

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