Food from the service deli at the Costco Wholesale Warehouse in Issaquah, WA is associated with a Salmonella outbreak, according to the King County health department. Seven people have been sickened one of whom has been hospitalized.

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The Costco Wholesale Warehouse service deli prepares and sells a variety of hot and cold ready-to-eat foods, including rotisserie chicken, poke, pork ribs, macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, wraps, cilantro lime shrimp and shrimp cocktail. Health officials have not yet identified which of these foods is the source of the illnesses. The Washington State Public Health Laboratory performed tests on raw poultry and environmental samples collected in the service deli on August 7, 2018. They were negative for Salmonella I,4,[5], 12:i:-.

Case-patients reported onset-of-illness dates from August 28, 2017–July 13, 2018. Health officials used DNA “fingerprint” testing to determine that all seven people were sickened by the same strain of Salmonella I,4,[5], 12:i:- i. All of them purchased and ate food from the deli before they became ill. One of them was a deli employee.

Salmonella Outbreak
Salmonella bacteria in tetrathionate enrichment broth stained using direct FA staining technique.

Salmonella Outbreak Investigation

Health officials visited the deli on August 7, 2018. During their investigation, they “identified potential risk factors for cross-contamination and spread of bacteria, including inconsistent handwashing practices and improper cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces that touch foods.”  They addressed these issues with management.  However, when health officials returned on August 30, 2018, the issues with handwashing, and cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces that touch foods.

On September 19, 2018, health investigators asked the deli to stop preparing ready-to-eat foods temporarily so that food handling practices and procedures could be re-evaluated. The following day, they identified additional cross-contamination risks.

Health officials instructed the deli to provide additional food handling training to employees and complete a deep-cleaning and disinfection before resuming operations. Health investigators confirmed on September 21, 2018, that those measure had taken place. They will return in three weeks.

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