In May of 2010, the Athens City County Health Department (ACCHD) began investigating what appeared to be a foodborne illness outbreak among patrons of the Casa Lopez restaurant in Athens, Ohio. Public health investigators identified a total of 41 culture-confirmed cases of Salmonella serotype Enteritidis. An additional 14 case-patients who were not laboratory confirmed but were epidemiologically linked to the Casa Lopez restaurant were classified as either “probable” or “suspected” cases.
The investigation into the Salmonella outbreak among Casa Lopez customers revealed several critical violations at the restaurant over multiple inspections, including:
Improper use of single-use gloves; Soap was not available at hand wash only sink;There was no date markings on any food products in storage; and Raw food product was stored above uncovered chiles rellenos and other ready-to-eat foods in the walk-in freezer.
- Hot holding and cold holding conditions were conducive for the growth of bacteria;
The ACCHD investigation led to the conclusion that there was a strong association between eating chiles rellenos and Salmonella infection.