Contaminated food sickens hundreds: Local firm handling

Contaminated food sickens hundreds: Local law firm handling

When San Antonio, Texas residents take their families out to dinner, they may steer clear of one popular destination.

Over the past weeks, hundreds of diners reported cramps, vomiting, and at least a dozen hospitalizations within hours of dining at the Wurzbach location of Pasha Mediterranean Grill. Metro Health officials have launched a full investigation, and while the root of the outbreak is not yet known, investigators have found numerous health code violations which could have led to the outbreak.

Food poisoning injuries

So far, over a dozen diners have been confirmed to have contracted Salmonella infections after visiting the restaurant. Officials cannot rule out that contamination which began in one area of the kitchen could have spread along multiple vectors through negligence and poor food safety practices. The Salmonella bacteria thrives on raw meat and vegetables, food surfaces, and prepared products like hummus.

Metro Health has taken over three hundred reports from sickened diners. Diners are being asked to explain their symptoms, trace timing and duration, and try to remember what they ate. Investigators compare the reports submitted by patrons to help trace the outbreak to a particular dish, product, or area of the restaurant, in the hopes of identifying the source and preventing further outbreaks.

Outbreaks of the Salmonella bacteria are responsible for hundreds of thousands of food poisoning deaths every year, with even more hospitalizations. Those suffering after an outbreak experience severe nausea, bouts of uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea, and severe pain with no means of relief. The dehydration and exhaustion from a serious infection can send even healthy individuals to the emergency room. In addition to costly medical bills, sufferers can lose income due to missed time from work.

What’s being done?

As the investigation continues, anyone in the San Antonio area with symptoms of food poisoning is encouraged to call the 311 Metro Health hotline and report their experience. Salmonella infections are serious, particularly for at-risk age groups, and sufferers should not attempt to weather their symptoms without medical attention. In addition to Metro Health reporting, those seeking medical treatment should be as detailed as possible in their descriptions to doctors and medical staff.

Those affected by this outbreak have high hopes that Metro Health will be able to determine how the outbreak started and what can be done to prevent it. Unfortunately, authorities are unlikely to provide much relief to those whose lives have been turned upside down by a simple dining experience. Texas native and recognized Salmonella lawyer Jory Lange is spearheading a group lawsuit to help those affected recover from their injuries and damages.

“Several of our clients were hospitalized. Salmonella infections can be very dangerous. Even after the initial illness subsides, there can be severe long-term complications, including Reactive Arthritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” says food safety attorney Jory Lange. “Anyone who became sick after eating at Pasha Mediterranean Grill should seek medical attention.”

For more information on the outbreak and unfolding updates, visit Make Food Safe.

Legal news update by David MacMillan of Cohen & Cohen, P.C. in Washington, DC.