The Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Environmental Services in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services is investigating an outbreak that appears to be linked to the Federico’s Mexican Restaurant located at 13132 W Camelback.
So far, at least 11 of the 15 individuals with bloody diarrhea that MCDPH has been able to interview have either purchased food from or eaten at this particular Federico’s. MCDPH has also received preliminary laboratory results indicating that the bacteria causing the illness is E. coli O157.
“Just to be clear, it is only this one Federico’s establishment where many of the cases have reported eating or purchasing food,” said Dr Bob England, director of MCDPH. “The investigation remains ongoing and we have all hands on deck to figure out the specific source.
The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department (MCESD) responded by inspecting the facility immediately and taking food samples. “The restaurant has been extremely cooperative with our investigation. In fact, out of an abundance of caution and concern for their customers, the restaurant is voluntarily closing,” said Steven Goode, deputy director for MCESD.
Anyone who has eaten at this particular Federico’s Mexican Food from on or after July 23 AND is experiencing bloody diarrhea should see a healthcare provider so a stool culture can be ordered. Options for people without a health care provider include urgent care centers or community health centers.
The illness appears to be caused by a class of bacteria that produces a toxin. This toxin can cause severe illness and, especially in children, can lead to kidney failure and even death.
It is important for health care providers to be aware of this outbreak because treating children with antibiotics for this bacteria can increase the risk of serious consequences. Providers who have patients who they suspect may be related to this outbreak should order a stool culture and contact MCDPH’s disease reporting line at 602-747-7500.
“Unfortunately, there is still much to uncover about this outbreak such as what specific food may have been contaminated, how the food was contaminated and how many people have been exposed. As we discover this information, we will continue to share with the public,” England added.
No county legal will result from this inspection. Discussed the five reportable foodborne illnesses and corresponding symptoms employees must report to the Person in Charge to reduce the risk of transmission of foodborne illness. Advised Person in Charge to create and maintain an employee illness log. Cooking and holding temperatures of PHF/TCS food items were found to be in compliance. However, cooked chilies were observed to have been improperly cooled. Cooled chilies were found to be between 62-63°F after cooling for 6 hours. Chiles were embargoed. Reviewed the time/temperature milestones that must be achieved to properly and safely cool PHF/TCS foods. Chiles were embargoed; see form. In addition, took samples of suspect food items. See embargo form. Discussed proper hand washing procedures with Person in Charge. Advised Person in Charge to remind employees that within the 20-second hand wash requirement, hands must be scrubbed with soap between 10 to 15 seconds. Discussed proper ware washing procedures. Advised person in charge that all food contact surfaces in continuous contact with potentially hazardous food items must be washed, rinsed and sanitized no less than every 4 hours if under room temperature. Investigation conducted with RS 1021.
3-501.16(A)(2) and (B), P: Potentially Hazardous Food (Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food), Cold Holding: Shredded cooked and raw pork, shredded cooked and raw beef, cooked shrimp, breaded cooked fish, breaded cooked chili (egg battered), cut deli ham held in reach in cooler at 50 F. Deli ham in walk in cooler held at 47 F. Manger was notified and Items were discarded.
4-301.11, Pf: Cooling, Heating, and Holding Capacities-Equipment: Reach in cooler in the cook line works at 53 F. Must repair.
6-501.12, C: Cleaning, Frequency and Restrictions: Floor around the cove in dry storage room is covered with food debris beans, flour and seeds. Must clean as often as needed.
7-202.12, P: Conditions of Use***** Observed can of Raid insecticide in office stored on shelf above rags used in sanitizer buckets in establishment. Person in charge voluntarily discarded. Person in charge states that pest control is done once a month in establishment. Only a licensed pest control applicator may apply pesticide in establishment, please increase frequency of treatment if needed.
3-501.16(A)(2) and (B), P: Potentially Hazardous Food (Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food), Cold Holding – Various items were observed out of temperature. In the sandwich table refrigerator the following items were at the noted temperatures; sliced tomatoes @ 50.1° F, sour cream @ 48.7° F, guacamole @ 51.5° F, Pico de Gallo @ 49.8 ° F, Shredded lettuce @ 47.1° F, Special beef @ 49.0° F, raw beef @ 51.0° F, and raw bacon @ 52.8° F. I had items that had been in the cooler for more than 6 hours discarded and the remainder of products adopted time as a temperature control until unit could be repaired. Also salsa in salsa bar were observed in plastic containers @ 45.7° F and 47.8° F. The salsas were removed from the plastic containers and placed in metal ones which transferred the cold from the ice better and they regained proper temperature.3-501.15 (A), Pf: Cooling Methods – A container of cooked shrimp was observed sitting on a shelf at 98.1° F. Per employee it had finished cooking about two hours prior but it was not known when they reached 135° F. I had the shrimp placed in a colander and bathed in ice water until they reached proper cold holding temperature and then placed in the refrigerator. 4-301.11, Pf: Cooling, Heating, and Holding Capacities-Equipment – The sandwich table refrigerator was not maintaining products at proper temperature. Call repair technician immediately. I will re-inspect for repair.
3-501.16(A)(1), P: Potentially Hazardous Food (Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food), Hot Holding Cooked rice in hot holding unit in near preparation table was 93*F. Refried beans along cook line was 113-129*F. Potentially hazardous food items need to be held at 135*F or above. Food items were heated immediately on stove.