Most Workers Cleared in Subway Salmonella Outbreak

We’ve been following the Subway <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">Salmonella outbreak, recently writing that the restaurants and food handling staff were undergoing testing for the dangerous, sometimes deadly, pathogen. Now, Pantagraph reports that the majority of Subway’s food handlers have been cleared to go back to work.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health yesterday, about 86 percent of the workers successfully cleared two consecutive Salmonella tests, said Pantagraph. The agency mandated testing while the investigation continues into the cause of the Salmonella outbreak that began in May and caused 97 people to fall ill, said Pantagraph.

Melaney Arnold, Public Health spokeswoman, said that just because 86 percent tested negative for Salmonella contamination, that does not mean the other 14 percent are positive for Salmonella, said the Pantagraph. “Some just haven’t had both tests done, some no longer work at Subway, and some have been on vacation,” Arnold said, quoted the Pantagraph.

One lawsuit has been filed, others have been threatened, and more are expected.

According to Public Health officials, no new Salmonella cases have been reported in the past week; however, 47 restaurants in 28 counties have been impacted, said the Pantagraph. A total of 26 people were hospitalized; all have been released.

The Illinois Department of Health confirmed 97 cases of the rare, dangerous, and sometimes deadly, Salmonella Hvittingfoss infection, spokeswoman Kelly Jakubek told Reuters previously. According to a prior Reuters report, the poisonings took place from May 11 to June 5.

Owners of the Subway stores impacted by the outbreak say that the issue was with suspected contaminated produce and that when illnesses began occurring early last month, the stores removed the produce from their stores, said the Pantagraph. The investigation continues into whether the contamination took place in the fields, at the producer, or at the distributor, said the Pantagraph. According to Arnold, quoted the Pantagraph, “The investigation is still ongoing.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health is collaborating 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. Produce distributors are also being investigated, said the Packer previously.

Subway recently issued a public apology, said The Associated Press (AP). Subway corporate spokesman Kevin Kane issued the apology saying the firm was sorry for the problems, pointing 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. 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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