Johnson County Department of Health and Environment health investigators have identified Norovirus as the culprit in an outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses among patrons of the Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar located in Overland Park, Kansas at 7030 W. 105th St. Among the victims were members of the Shawnee Mission South High School swim and dive team who were engaged in a fundraiser at 105th Street and Metcalf Avenue, very near the restaurant. The Buffalo Wild Wings store closed this last weekend and thoroughly cleaned and sanitized the restaurant. A health department spokeswoman, Barbara Mitchell, stated that the Johnson County health department was working hand-in-hand with the city of Overland Park, the Kansas Department of Health and , and the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
In an inspection of Buffalo Wild Wings on Saturday, the Agriculture Department found at least 17 code violations, including:
An employee observed wiping his nose with the back of a gloved hand and then returning to the work area without washing his hands or changing gloves.
Several bottles of liquor in the bar area containged small dead insects.
Cooking utensils contained dried bits of cabbage, onion and other food debris.
Boxed dinner napkins being stored on the floor of an employee restroom.
The restaurant has released a statement: “We take food safety very seriously, and following a report Saturday of potential illness by the health department, we decided to close the Overland Park restaurant to allow for a third-party vendor to conduct a thorough cleaning,” adding “although there is no conclusive link to our restaurant being the source of the illness, we voluntarily took these actions out of an abundance of caution.”
The restaurant reopened on Sunday, January 31st, but the consequences facing Buffalo Wild Wings are just beginning, as they are susceptible to civil lawsuits by the victims. In reports today Buffalo Wild Wings stock prices dropped 7%, perhaps in reaction to the recent outbreaks linked to Chipotle which have led to numerous lawsuits and a precipitous decline in stock value for that company, which is not linked to at least five separate outbreaks. The Food Safety Lawyers at Ron Simon & Associates are representing many of those victims.
For more information about the Buffalo Wild Wings Norovirus Outbreak, or any other outbreak, call 1-888-335-4901.