Investigation into outbreak ends with cross-contamination in crosshairs

Investigation into outbreak ends with cross-contamination in crosshairs
Public health officials say they have concluded their investigation of a Salmonella outbreak traced to a restaurant and food truck. As many as 230 people were infected.

Lambton Public Health in the province of Ontario, Canada, is reporting that illnesses among patrons of the Barakat Restaurant in Sarnia and the Barakat food truck in Corunna occurred between Oct. 19 and 29. The businesses closed on Oct. 30. A re-inspection will be conducted at both premises when they are ready to reopen.

“As part of the investigation, multiple follow-up inspections have been conducted at this food premise and LPH is satisfied that there is no ongoing source of Salmonella infection related to this outbreak,” the public health agency reports.

“Throughout the investigation, several food specimens and food ingredients were sent for testing, and an epidemiological analysis of data collected from cases was conducted. Lab tests and data analysis did not point towards a specific food item to which cases could be attributed, leading public health investigators to suspect that the outbreak resulted from cross-contamination of multiple food items. Epidemiological and laboratory analysis indicated potential contamination of dishes containing hummus, however, results were not conclusive.”

As of the posting of the investigation update the health department had 45 confirmed patients and another 185 suspected patients. All reported eating food at one of the impacted establishments, according to the public health report.

Additional people could be added to the list because it can take up to four weeks for individual’s cases to be logged by health agencies because of the time it takes for initial and confirmation testing.

Lambton Public Health’s investigation into this outbreak was done in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario, and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

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