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Corky & Lenny's Deli Salmonella Outbreak

On February 6, 2006 the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) was contacted by a husband and wife who had eaten at Corky & Lenny’s restaurant in Woodmere, Ohio and who had become ill with Salmonellosis. By February 10, additional cases of salmonellosis had been identified. Corky & Lenny’s closed on February 10 until the reason for the outbreak could be identified.

Forty-eight confirmed cases and 64 probable cases of salmonellosis were epidemiologically linked to Corky & Lenny’s from January 21, 2006 to February 18, 2006. Twenty-three people were hospitalized.

During a restaurant inspection, CCBH environmental health specialists reviewed food preparation processes and found several serious food safety errors at the restaurant. The temperature inside a reach-in cooler was 50 F and food held in the cooler was 45 F. Ohio food law requires that food be cold held at a minimum of 41 F. Investigators also found that the dishwasher was not hot enough to properly sanitize dishes. Other errors noted included improper storage of raw potentially hazardous foods, improper food handling procedures, and lack of hand washing after handling raw foods.

In the final outbreak report prepared by the CCBH, health investigators concluded that an outbreak of Salmonella enteriditis illness was significantly associated with the consumption of chopped liver, salad/vegetables, and/or matzo ball soup. Health investigators believe that the outbreak was prolonged because of “cross contamination of chopped liver by the contaminated oil after preparation and unsanitary food handling practices which were confirmed through laboratory analysis of submitted food sample.”

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