|08-13-03: Sickness linked to restaurant
|By L ANCE MIHM
A foodborne illness outbreak linked to Xcaret Restaurant in St. Marys
on July 21 was investigated by the Auglaize County Health Department and corrective
measures have been put in place.
At Tuesday's health board meeting, county sanitarian Marv Sellhorst
said 24 people in the county reported gastrointestinal illnesses after eating at the
Lab reports from microbiologists at the Ohio Department of Health
Laboratory later confirmed that some food from the restaurant was tested and contained
Clostridium perfringens, a pathogen that causes gastrointestinal illness.
The inspection by local health officials also found employees not using
gloves at the restaurant and that the hand-washing sink was not accessible.
During the health board inspection at the restaurant, samples were
collected from salsa, chips, refried beans, an onion/tomato mixture and pork, but nothing
harmful was found.
However, food samples collected from several customers who brought food
home were found unsafe. The main culprit was chicken quesadilla, which registered at
250,000 colonies of clostridium perfringens per gram. Anything over 100,000 colonies is
considered a dangerous level, according to Selhorst.
The affected people averaged an incubation period of about eight and a
half hours, with an illness period of just over 11 hours involving diarrhea, cramps,
nausea, and to a lesser extent, chills and headaches.
The health department's incident report said the pathogen likely came
from a food handler in the restaurant. A meeting with the restaurant's manager, Jesus
Moran, and an unnamed employee was held to discuss proper cooking and holding
temperatures, cooling procedures, reheating temperatures and hand washing.
Spanish written signs urging proper practices by employees and
information sheets also were passed out to the workers.
A follow-up inspection at the restaurant will be conducted later this
month, the incident report said.
"I think the situation has been taken care of," Selhorst
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