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The OC Restaurant Where Customers Got Sick With E.Coli in April--And That OC Health Care Officials Don't Want You to Know About

Categories: Indigestion
lettucefield.jpg

Some time in April, nine customers at a restaurant in Orange County got sick with E. coli that was in their lettuce. The lettuce came from Amazing Coachella, Inc., and eaters in Canada also fell ill, with the OC restaurant being the only culprit. The restaurant closed for a couple of days, then opened, and that was that.

The name of the restaurant? The Orange County Health Care Agency never revealed it when the outbreak occurred, and doesn't want you to know about it, now or ever. 
The story was first broken by Food Safety News in July, and they followed up yesterday with an outrageous quote from OC HCA spokesperson Deanne Thompson stating that releasing the name of the offending restaurant would "not serve a useful purpose."

Excuse me?! This is public information, and crucial information, at that: diners deserve to know what restaurant served contaminated lettuce. Besides, the OC HCA always releases the names of restaurants it shuts down for even the most minor of infractions, yet Thompson told Food Safety News that they didn't reveal the E. coli culprit because it participated fully with their investigation. There wasn't even an alert that E. coli-contaminated lettuce was in the county--a government cover-up if ever there was one

Sorry, Deanne, but you are in no position to decide what restaurants get protected by ustedes, and what restaurants don't. I've seen your inspectors shame mom-and-pop ethnic restaurants because they didn't place their kitchen soap in the proper place. You guys just drove off a bunch of LA-based luxe loncheras from OC because they didn't match up to your exacting, hypocritical standards. You're lucky I'm currently in the salt mines, but trust me: once I get a public-records request form, I'm getting the name of that restaurant.

In the meanwhile, gentle readers: did you notice any restaurants mysteriously closing in April for a couple of days? Tell us more...

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18 comments
JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

A few years ago, a guy got seriously ill after eating crab meat at Riptide in Mission Viejo. And I mean, seriously ill -- pneumonia or something similarly respiratory. Riptide didn't collapse...business is booming, last I checked. I agree with Mr. Arellano. Censorship is bad...knowledge is good. Personally, I'd like to know Amazing Coachella's entire local client list.

chicharron
chicharron

The public 100% needs to know what restaurant served tainted lettuce. Jack in the box KILLED people, "way back when", when they failed to properly cook ground beef contaminated with e coli. If a restaurant is placed on the county's closure list for "minor infractions" then a restaurant serving DEADLY raw food should also be publicly "shamed". However, if after you uncover the name of the restaurant in question, and let's say it IS a mom and pop "ethnic" restaurant, would you still feel the need to take it upon yourself to shame it? If it was cafe anepalco? If it was one of daves Food Blogger friends? if it was Brodard? I love your style of journalism and you ALWAYS sticking up for the little guy and ALWAYS sticking to the man. But don't forget, hypocrisy goes both ways (gueys)

OC Weekly
OC Weekly

Sean: What the hell are you rambling about? Christine: Yep. Kristoffer: Tell that to Jack-in-the-Box back in their E. Coli days—they were following the laws, too. Christine: Yep. Kim: We do! Erika: EXACTLY...

Jasmine Ochoa
Jasmine Ochoa

Ugh doy! Of course they should release the name of the restaurant ! Not to punish them (its been eatablished orgin of produce) but to advise the public and also patrons that had eaten there and have no clue as to what they consumed . Expose inspectors not living up to their job....PUBLIC health.

liketabike
liketabike

Nunya, they named the New Brunswick restaurant (Jungle Jim's), why not name the OC one as well? It seems likely that Amazing Coachella (the lettuce mfr.) sold to other restaurants who *didn't* have people get sick, so part of the responsibility (maybe washing the lettuce properly) could fall on the restaurant.

Nunyabiznass
Nunyabiznass

Gus,

 

You are an idiot and obviously do not know the nature of the business you are writing about and too lazy to properly research.  The restaurant that was temporarily shut down, purchases its lettuce from someone else who is the responsible party to make sure the lettuce is grown properly and safe.  The restaurant purchases this lettuce with this understanding and has no way of testing this nor are responsible in doing so.  The responsible party is the lettuce manufacturer and reason they are named.  What's the benefit of punishing a restaurant who purchased this lettuce in good faith???  They could not have prevented this and are a victim as well since they were under the impression that what they were buying was a good and safe product. Should you find the name of this restaurant and print it, I hope you lawyer-up and get prepared to meet the unemployment line.

Kim Palmer
Kim Palmer

Gotta love the Public Records Act!

Christine Love Adkins
Christine Love Adkins

uh yes they should! are you people stupid? I want to know the names of the restaurant so me and my friends wont gey sick and waste our money.

Kristoffer Lance
Kristoffer Lance

I just read your blog article and also the Food Safety News linked article. I was on board with your rage against the cover-up until I realized that the mystery restaurant had clearly gotten the tainted lettuce from the grower (which was identified). Maybe I'm wrong but should the restaurant really have to suffer, probably go out of business, for something they had no control over? Just sayin.

Sean Henschel
Sean Henschel

So what are the names of restaurants which had the bad lettuce and which places (mom and pop) are you referring to? The ones that didn't put the soap back in the holder. Looking like racist rage and rants with no substance.

kwelch29
kwelch29

Nice work.  These guys are little Hitlers with their exessive power.  They should be ONLY harrasing restaurants for gross violations such as this.  Not weather theres a stupid hand washing station every five feet.  These bastards need to be shamed.  Smells like a payoff to me also.  Or cronyism.

Dave_Lieberman
Dave_Lieberman

 @chicharron News is news. We'd just put a sad emoticon in the title:

 

Blahblahblah Cafe Closed For E. Coli Contamination :(

HarryK
HarryK

 @Nunyabiznass "You are an idiot and obviously do not know the nature of the business you are writing about and too lazy to properly research." That's a great way to start a comment on a thread to give yourself immediate credibility and persuasion. 

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @Nunyabiznass Wow, you sound like someone who knows the name of the restaurant! When Jack-in-the-Box customers ate E. coli burgers way back when, everyone rightfully nailed Jack for serving the burgers, so why not your pal's (or yours?) restaurant?

Dave_Lieberman
Dave_Lieberman

 @kwelch29 I wasn't going to reply here, but I don't think cronyism is quite as rampant as it might seem. (I have no basis for saying this, obviously.) I suspect it's more like the TSA. The aim is to protect consumers, so obviously every decision, good or bad, is good because "OMG THE PUBLIC MUST BE PROTECTED!"

 

"Should we let tomatoes sit out on the condiment shelf?"

"Hm. Has anyone gotten sick?"

"Yes, that one guy in Castroville that one time. It was pretty bad; he missed two weeks of work and got fired."

"WE HAVE TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC!"

 

chicharron
chicharron

@Dave_Lieberman @kwelch29 I agree, I don't believe cronyism is rampant at all, all my experiences with the health department were positive and they were there to help. Actually, the inspector in Cypress, Dino, looks a lot like Gus! (Stupid factoid, I know) and Dave, tomatoes don't need to be refrigerated until they are cut.

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