According to a letter from Michael J. Moore, the director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Food Protection Program, at least 19 cases of salmonella have been traced to 10 different events held at the Delaney House between the 11th and 15th of November, 2014. In this letter to Holyoke Board of Health (HBH) Assistant Director, Katie Gallagher, Moore noted that, of the employees tested for the outbreak strain of salmonella, at least 6 tested positive, including 5 of whom handled food. Some of those ill employees also worked at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting Hall, and at various catering events catered by Log Rolling Catering. Moore also summarized a November 24th inspection that had followed identification of Delaney House as the source of the salmonella outbreak, which while failing to identify how the salmonella was introduced into the establishment, did find serious violations of proper food handling procedures that could easily have led to the introduction, and cross contamination, of salmonella bacteria. Key among the findings were these deficiencies:
1. The employee manual failed to require employees to report health conditions;
2. A single employee who was washing dishes was handling both clean and dirty dishes, “which fails to protect dishes from contamination”; and
3. The sanitizing water in the mechanical dishwasher did not reach the necessary 180 degrees.
Moore went on to ask HBH to order the restaurant owners to take affirmative action in the aftermath of the outbreak, including:
1. Taking all corrective action in the FPP Inspection of November 24th;
2. Providing a complete list of all employees who worked at Delaney House, the Log Cabin or Log Rolling Catering;
3. Providing a complete list of all food service events participated in by Delaney House, the Log Cabin, or Log Rolling Catering since November 11th;
4. Sorting all employees into groups by risk level, such as cooks being “high risk” and cashiers being “low risk”;
5. Prohibiting any foodhandler from Delaney House, the Log Cabin or Log Rolling Catering
Owner Speaks Out About the Outbreak as Restaurant Remains Open
In the same letter, Moore told HBH’s Katie Gallagher, “the Holyoke Board of Health also has the option of issuing an emergency closure notice under the authority of 105 CMR 590.014(A).” At present, no such order has been issued. A co-owner of the Delaney House, Peter Rosskothen, stated “we feel awful about this but I know for a fact that no one has been related to us with this issue since Nov. 15th. I feel really comfortable that whatever came to us, left us even before the investigation started.” Though this has not been independently confirmed by state of local health officials, the restaurant remains open at this time.
If you or a loved one became ill after eating food prepared at House, the Log Cabin or Log Rolling Catering, the food safety lawyers at Ron Simon & Associate encourages you to seek proper medical attention and then speak to a salmonella lawyer to investigate any legal rights you might have. Call 1-888-335-4901.