One year after salmonella killed 2 sickened 75 from Rhode Island bakery
Posted: March 16th, 2012 - 4:57am by Doug Powell
In March, 2011, an outbreak of salmonella was first identified after a nursing home in Rhode Island reported that 15 residents and two staff members had fallen ill. Investigators discovered that all had eaten zeppole from DeFusco’s Bakery to commemorate St. Joseph’s Day; store owners closed the bakery the same day.
Over the next week, the state received dozens of similar reports of salmonella symptoms, and all but one person had eaten zeppole from DeFusco’s, which supplied the pastries to other bakeries and catered events for the holiday.
WPRI reports that one year later, four new health inspectors have been hired, giving the Food Inspection Department a total of 11 to cover more than 2,000 food establishments.
The Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health refused an interview but, based on inspection reports, there have been numerous inspections at bakeries statewide in the past month, which found:
• "Pizza, calzones and pork pies stored at 65 degrees..."
• "Temperatures need to be 41 degrees"
• "Raw beef stored with deli meats"
• "Mouse droppings found"
A number of lawsuits have been filed against DeFusco's Bakery and some of those are still pending.
Others have been dropped due to the fact the bakery was not insured.
Last year, The Boston Globe reported state inspectors found a host of health violations at DeFusco's, from gallons of pastry cream left unrefrigerated for hours to pastry shells stored in egg crates tainted with salmonella bacteria. It was most likely the shells, which had come into contact with the salmonella-infected eggs, that ignited the outbreak, disease detectives said. The state issued an immediate recall of the bakery’s goods, and the shop agreed to close its two locations immediately.