Rhode Island Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 25, Linked to Raw Eggs

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) is continuing to investigate a potentially dangerous <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">Salmonella outbreak, possibly related to zeppoles, said the Rhode Island government.

To date, HEALTH has received reports of 25 people who have been sickened statewide, with many having eaten zeppoles from DeFusco’s Bakery. Of those sickened, 13 tested positive for Salmonella and 10 required hospitalization.

It is believed that the outbreak was caused by consumption of zeppole pastries that came in contact with raw eggs. Pastry shells from DeFusco’s had been stored in used egg crates, which could have exposed the pastry shells to infected raw eggs.

HEALTH’s Office of Food Protection continues working to identify all bakeries that sold zeppoles made by DeFusco’s and is also looking into the source of the eggs. HEALTH’s State Laboratories are testing food samples to pinpoint the exact source of illness.

HEALTH learned that American Bakery Supplies, a distributor in West Warwick, purchased zeppoles from DeFusco’s. The company then distributed the pastries to Roch’s Market in West Warwick, Meal Works in Coventry, and Touch of Class Catering in West Warwick. Meal Works, which is a catering company, served these zeppoles at events on March and 18 at West Warwick Manor Senior Center; St. John and Paul Church in Coventry; Sparrow Point, a West Warwick senior facility; and Crescent Park Manor in Riverside.

Zeppoles from DeFusco’s Johnston store were also sold at all DeFusco’s locations, Colvitto’s Bistro in Narragansett, Sal’s Bakery in Providence, and Focaccia World in Johnston. All five Crugnale Bakery locations in Providence, East Providence, North Providence, Cranston, and Cumberland also sold DeFusco’s zeppoles March 16-20.

HEALTH also found unsafe food storage practices at Buono’s Bakery in Providence. Its zeppole, cream puff, and éclair shells were also stored in used egg crates, which could lead to contamination from raw eggs. People are advised to immediately discard all baked goods from any DeFusco’s; zeppoles from any of the locations mentioned; and zeppoles, cream puffs, and éclairs from Buono’s Bakery in Providence.

Anyone who has eaten any of these potentially contaminated products and who has fallen ill, especially with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, should contact their healthcare provider immediately for evaluation and treatment. Because foods of animal origin, including eggs, may be contaminated with Salmonella, people should not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat or raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products. Also, raw eggs and uncooked meats should be kept separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination. Hands, cutting boards, counters, knives, and other utensils should be washed thoroughly after touching uncooked foods. Boxes that contained eggs or raw meat product should never be used for any other purpose. People should wash their hands before handling food, and between handling different food items.

Salmonella is a bacterial infection that usually last 4 to 7 days. The infected person develops fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea between 12 and 72 hours after becoming infected. Most people recover without treatment. However, very young and very old people as well as those with weakened immune systems can suffer severe illness and in the worst cases possible death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It is important to note that Salmonella-tainted foods generally do not look or smell spoiled.

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