Iguana Joe's Salmonella Outbreak - Texas (2013)


On June 25, 2013 Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (HCPHES) closed the Iguana Joe’s Restaurant located at 18319 West Lake Houston Parkway in Humble, Texas after multiple patrons reported being sickened over Father’s Day weekend. Several people, including children, were hospitalized due to infection with Salmonella.  

Reports of illnesses prompted an inspection by HCPHES inspectors on June 21. Twenty-seven violations were noted that day including multiple “critical” violations considered to be important food safety issues. HCPHES inspectors returned the next day and found little had changed. Notably the restaurant continued to cool hot foods improperly, hot foods were not being held at high enough temperatures, and employees were observed with poor hygienic practices. Citing the restaurants failure to correct these violations, HCPHES Director, Michael Schaffer, told KHOU news that employees “weren’t cooling the batches of beef, chicken, and guacamole at the proper temperatures.”  

Health officials seized 17 pounds of food which had to be destroyed. It was not until June 29 that HCPHES inspectors reported no violations at Iguana Joe’s.  

Marler Clark represented 10 individuals affected in the outbreak, achieving settlements covering their medical costs, wage loss, pain and suffering, past physical impairment, metal anguish, and loss of spousal consortium.