April 4, 2011: Rhode Island Salmonella Outbreak Linked to DeFusco's Pastries

The Rhode Island State Department of Health continues to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning cases linked to zeppoles sold at DeFusco’s Bakery located in Johnston and Cranston, RI.  To date, 56 illnesses have been reported in connection with the outbreak.

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Twenty-six of those sickened have required hospitalization and sadly the death of an elderly gentleman may also be linked to the outbreak. The following information regarding the distribution of the zeppoles was contained in the State of Rhode Island Department of Health Press Release, dated March 27, 2011. 

"HEALTH has now learned that American Bakery Supplies, a distributor in West Warwick, purchased zeppoles from DeFusco's. The company then distributed the pastries to Roch's Market in West Warwick; Meal Works in Coventry; and Touch of Class Catering in West Warwick. Meal Works (a catering company) served these zeppoles at events on March and 18 at West Warwick Manor Senior Center, St John and Paul Church in Coventry, Sparrow Point (senior facility) in West Warwick, and Crescent Park Manor in Riverside. 

Zeppoles from DeFusco’s Johnston store were also sold at all DeFusco’s locations; Colvitto’s Bistro in Narragansett (note, yesterday's press release incorrectly listed the bakery's name as Calvitto's in Narragansett); Sal’s Bakery in Providence; and Focaccia World in Johnston. All five Crugnale Bakery locations in Providence, East Providence, North Providence, Cranston, and Cumberland also sold DeFusco’s zeppoles from March 16 through March 20.”

Public health officials cautioned that consumers should discard (as in not eat) any baked goods purchased from any DeFusco’s Bakery, zeppoles from any of the above locations, and zeppoles, cream puffs, and éclairs from Buono’s Bakery in Providence.  In addition anyone who has eaten these baked goods and has become ill should contact their healthcare provider for evaluation and treatment.  

Although the outbreak is still under investigation, the RI Department of Health has indicated that the baked goods may have become cross contaminated with Salmonella after the pastry shells were stored in used egg crates.  Raw eggs are well known to be a potential source of Salmonella contamination.  Further inspection of the bakery also revealed other unsafe food handling practices including the storage of pastry cream at unsafe temperature.  

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may include chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days. 

This information is posted as a courtesy of the Personal Injury Law Firm of Eric H. Weinberg. If you have been diagnosed with Salmonella, are awaiting medical confirmation of infection, or have a question regarding your legal rights, please submit a Free Legal Case Evaluation, or call us toll free at 1-877-934-6274.

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