Los Chilangos Food Truck E. coli Outbreak Lawsuit - Washington (2015)
Seattle/King County Public Health investigated an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 linked to Los Chilangos food truck and caterer. After illnesses were reported and linked in August 2015, Public Health took action and required Los Chilangos to cease operations. More interviews brought the total number of people impacted by this outbreak to 10 individuals with at least 3 hospitalized and 1 who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Los Chilangos served food at seven farmers markets in King and Snohomish Counties, operated two food trucks, and also catered events. Los Chilangos utilized a shared kitchen space, called a commissary kitchen. The kitchen that they used was Eastside Commercial Kitchen, where they shared space and equipment with about a dozen other food businesses.
The condition of the Eastside Commercial Kitchen and the potential for cross contamination were deemed an imminent health hazard, and the health officer issued a cease and desist order to the commissary on Thursday, August 27. Additionally, all of the food vendors permitted by Public Health that use this kitchen were also told to cease operations. Recognizing that this lapse in operation hurts business, our team has worked diligently with these vendors to find new places for them to resume their work and remind them about important food safety measures. Eastside Commercial Kitchen remains closed at this time, pending completion of required corrective action.
On September 2nd, 2015 Los Chilangos was reopened. Some of the requirements by Seattle/King County Health included:
• Disposed of all food that could have potentially been a source of the outbreak
• Assured that all food workers are not ill
• Identified and signed a contract with a new commissary, which we have approved following a site inspection
• Washed, rinsed and sanitized all of their equipment before moving it to the new commissary.
• Made all staff available for additional food safety education from public health inspectors including sanitation, cross contamination, and cold and hot holding.
Marler Clark represented the Buder family whose 4 year old contracted HUS from the outbreak. Attorneys at Marler Clark reached a settlement on behalf of the family.