Food Poisoning Outbreak at Homer Hospital Sickens 80 Workers

Health officials identified the source of a food poisoning outbreak that sickened 80 hospital workers in Homer, Alaska. Investigators say the outbreak source is likely pulled pork inside a Cubano sandwich the workers ate for lunch. According to an update on the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Facebook page, South Peninsula Hospital brought in boxed lunches from local restaurants to feed employees because of a staff shortage in the dietary department. After eating the lunch, 80 hospital workers reported gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and stomach cramps. Only hospital staff ate the food – it was not sold to the public and no patients consumed it.

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Pending confirmation from the CDC, experts say Clostridium perfringens bacteria likely caused the outbreak. A representative from the DEC Food Safety and Sanitation program told the Anchorage Daily News that C. perfringens is a common cause of national outbreaks linked to cooked meat and poultry. He said, “If meat is cooled improperly — either cooled too slowly, or if the food isn’t kept cold enough — the spore of the bacteria can grow and proliferate through the food.” According to the DEC, it is rare for large food poisoning outbreaks like this one to occur in Alaska outside of a national outbreak.

Clostridium Perfringens
Clostridium Perfringens bacteria

If you developed a C. perfringens infection as part of this outbreak and would like a free consultation with an experienced food poisoning lawyer, please contact the Pritzker Hageman Food Poisoning Legal Team. You can reach us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below. There is no obligation and you don’t pay us unless we win.

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