On June 1, 2013, Elizabeth Kamau celebrated her graduation from college at a party hosted by her mother, Lucy. About 30 of her friends attended. The food was catered by Mount Everest, a Nepalese, Indian and American restaurant located at 7927 Belair Road, Suite C, in Nottingham, Maryland. The meal consisted of chicken marsala, rice, vegetables, and lamb. Although the party was enjoyable, over the next few days at least 11 of Elizabeth’s guests became sick with food poisoning, including her mother, Lucy, who had hosted the affair.
Several victims sought medical attention, while others provided stool samples directly to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (MDHMH). Many of the victims’ stool samples tested positive for the identical strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. Other victims were linked to the outbreak by matching their symptoms to the outbreak period.
A trace-back investigation clearly demonstrated that the victims had only the graduation party meal in common. This fact led the Baltimore County Department of Health to conduct a nearly 2-hour investigation of Mount Everest on June 5, 2013.
As a result of the inspection, the restaurant was determined to be out of compliance in many areas, including at least the following categories:
- Hot holding temperatures;
- Thermometers provided and accurate;
- Practices during food preparation, storage & display;
- Ample hand washing facilities supplied & accessible;
- Insects, animals-presence, harborage, control;
- Clean and sanitized food surfaces and storage;
- Design, construction & use of surfaces and equipment;
- Handwashing facilitates and test strips;
- Toilet facilities, construction, supplied and clean;
- Nonfood surfaces installed, maintained & cleaned;
- Adequate ventilation and lighting; and
- FOG program and BMP.
On June 10, 2013, MDHMH’s Laboratories Administration collected food preserved in refrigeration that had been served at the graduation party. Samples of the chicken marsala and the rice and vegetables tested positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium.
Based upon these test results, the origin of the outbreak was determined to be Mount Everest Restaurant.
Food safety lawyer Ron Simon represents each of the 11 victims that have been identified in this outbreak.