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E-Coli Outbreak Causes Closure of Foothill Ranch Souplantation

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The Souplantation Restaurant in Foothill Ranch has been closed after a 12th case of E. coli was confirmed among customers and one employee tested positive for the bacteria, county health officials announced Saturday, according to a news report in The Orange County Register on Sunday.

Orange County Health Care Agency officials said they confirmed late Friday night that there was a 12th E. coli case tied to the restaurant located at 26572 Towne Center Drive. The agency said it involved a juvenile who ate at the restaurant March 25. Previous customers who were afflicted reported eating there March 23 or 24. Officials gave no further details about the person or his or her condition.

Souplantation voluntarily closed the restaurant late Friday afternoon as a precautionary measure because large crowds were expected over the Easter holiday weekend, a spokeswoman for the restaurant told the Register. She added that other employees were still being tested for the E. Coli bacteria as well.

Company officials also said that all the employees are being tested because many of them eat at the restaurant and could help authorities determine the cause of the outbreak.

Meanwhile county health officials are saying that they have not identified the source of the infections and cannot draw any conclusions about the possible source of the bacteria, the article said. Interviews with people who work at Souplantation showed that they also eat at the restaurant and could have become ill in the same manner as their customers who ate there, officials explained.

Health officials said they are continuing their testing of samples obtained from employees through the weekend. Because of the latest developments, the health care agency said it had suspended the restaurant’s health permit to operate and will coordinate with restaurant representatives on necessary actions and steps to re-open the facility.

Souplantation has set up a toll-free customer service line for anyone with questions or problems. The number is 800-328-7761. If no one answers, callers are encouraged to leave a message.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, infection with E. coli often leads to bloody diarrhea, and occasionally to kidney failure. People can become infected with the bacteria in a variety of ways. Though most illness has been associated with eating undercooked, contaminated ground beef, people have also become ill from eating contaminated bean sprouts or fresh leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach.

For more information about how to prevent the infection or what to do if infected visit the CDC Web site about E.Coli by clicking on the following link: The CDC E.Coli page.

With every passing day, I’m losing confidence in our local and federal health agencies to regulate food processing. Starting with the horrible E.Coli outbreak in spinach and lettuce late last year to salmonella poisoning in peanut butter right down to the widespread recall of pet food, food-borne illnesses have caused trauma, injury, loss and a lot of emotional distress to thousands of people across the country.

What is it going to take for the governmental agencies to wake up and do their jobs? Are they going to protect the people who pay their salaries? That remains to be seen.

If you have been affected by a food-borne illness or if your pet has been sickened or killed by the recent pet food contamination, call me for a free consultation. John Bisnar 800-259-6373

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