On May 1, 2005, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADOH) issued a press release announcing that at least nine people had been confirmed ill with Salmonella infections after eating at the Café Santa Fe restaurant in Benton, Arkansas. The ADOH instructed anyone who had eaten at the restaurant in the previous seven days, and who was suffering symptoms like cramping, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and headache, to seek medical care as soon as possible.
During the epidemiologic investigation into the outbreak, ADOH learned that one or two employees at Café Santa Fe had worked within days of seeking medical treatment for diarrhea or vomiting. ADOH conducted an environmental inspection of Café Santa Fe on April 30, and inspectors identified several unsafe food handling practices. During the inspection, two “critical violations” were noted:
- The dishwasher was not sanitizing properly, and
- Cool foods were being placed directly on a hot holding steamer without first being rapidly reheated to 165º Fahrenheit.
As a result of a decrease in sales following the Salmonella outbreak, Café Santa Fe closed its doors.
Marler Clark represented several people who became ill with Salmonella infections after eating at the restaurant in claims against Café Santa Fe.