150 People Fall Ill Due to Sushi Sold in Harris Teeter Supermarkets
Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. is an American grocery store chain based in North Carolina. Harris Teeter and the Cabarrus Health Alliance of North Carolina recently discovered a link between sushi sold at two Harris Teeter locations and 159 reported cases of illness in North Carolina. Health officials have discovered that the sushi connected with these cases of illness were served by independent AFC sushi bars inside two Harris Teeter grocery stores located at 358 George W. Liles Parkway NW, Concord, and at 1245 Concord Parkway N., Concord.
Those who have reported illness have experienced symptoms of fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle aches. These symptoms match those caused by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), Listeriosis, as well as some other pathogens. Health officials have not yet determined the responsible pathogen, but the investigation is ongoing. The concerned sushi is believed to have been sold between November 13 and 19. Though an official recall has not been announced yet, Chrystal Singer, the Environmental Health director of Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA) announced that “[they] are encouraging anyone who purchased sushi from the George W. Liles or the Concord Parkway Harris Teeter between Nov. 13 and Nov. 19, to throw away any purchased items or leftovers”.
Immediately after being notified of the potential connection between the reported illnesses and the sushi sold in their in-store kiosks, Harris Teeter discarded all of its sushi products at both the involved locations, as well as conducted a deep sanitization. Since then, the sushi kiosks in the Concord Harris Teeter supermarkets have reopened after receiving inspection approval by the Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA).
As health officials continue to investigate this incident, they request that anyone who has consumed sushi from one of these two locations and currently experiences adverse symptoms, to seek medical attention, as well as a stool sample, in order to identify the responsible pathogen. Though the cause of this contamination is not yet known, it serves as a reminder of the constant need for vigilance in regards to the practice of institutional and personal hygiene when preparing food products.