An E. coli O157: H7 outbreak that has shuttered three locations of the Chicken & Rice Guys, as well as its fleet of Middle Eastern food trucks, Boston health inspectors said last Tuesday. By Friday the number of ill jumped to 15 with at least 10 people hospitalized.
The department confirmed 15 cases of E. coli O157: H7 stemming from the Chicken & Rice Guys Allston location, which supplies food to the chain’s other outposts. The problems led to the suspension of its operating license.
The company’s four food trucks, which rotate locations around Greater Boston, were taken off the road Tuesday afternoon.
According to Boston Inspectional Services, the city received an anonymous complaint and opened an investigation Tuesday. Public health officials remained at the Allston site throughout the afternoon trying to determine a specific source of the outbreak.
Today Chicken & Rice Guys’ four restaurants have reopened after being linked to an outbreak of E. coli infections, but the company’s four food trucks and one pop-up eatery remain shuttered.
Omar Cabrera, a representative for the state Department of Public Health, said the state hasn’t found E. coli O157:H7 in more than 100 Chicken & Rice Guys workers tested so far. But tests were not complete for three workers as of Tuesday, said Ana Vivas, a representative for the Boston Public Health Commission.
State health officials are also awaiting test results that would confirm that all 14 people who became ill after eating at Chicken & Rice Guys have the same bacteria, Cabrera said; investigators can determine that by examining the genetic footprint of the organisms.
The cause of the infections hasn’t been determined, Cabrera and Vivas said. “It’s very difficult to say because so many parties are involved,” Vivas said, referring to food preparation and service.
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