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Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

Statements Regarding E. coli Cases Linked to Burma Superstar in San Francisco

STATEMENT BY TOMÁS J. ARAGÓN, MD, DRPH, SAN FRANCISCO HEALTH OFFICER

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157 infection in 14 persons (11 San Francisco residents), 9 of whom ate at a restaurant in San Francisco on August 16 or 17. There have been no fatalities and there have been no new cases since this exposure date. Based on our current investigation, our preliminary conclusion is that there is no ongoing risk to the public’s health. The restaurant, San Francisco Burma Superstar, is fully cooperating with health authorities. Their environmental health food inspections have been excellent. The restaurant will remain open and SFDPH is working with owners to ensure continuing safe food storage, preparation, and handling. SFDPH is continuing its investigation, conducting special interview studies with the patients to determine how they may have been exposed and working closely with the California Department of Public Health.

Residents are reminded to always follow good hygiene practices, including washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before preparing food or eating. Safe food-handling includes cooking meats thoroughly, and thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after touching raw meat. San Franciscans experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection, which may include abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody, should consult their doctors.

STATEMENT BY SAN FRANCISCO BURMA SUPERSTAR REGARDING REPORTED CASES OF E. COLI

SAN FRANCISCO, CA– Today San Francisco Burma Superstar owner Desmond Tan released the following statement in response to reported cases of E. coli at his restaurant.

“We understand that several customers who dined at our restaurant on or around August 17th were exposed to E coli. We have been informed by the Department of Public Health that this is an isolated incident and we are fully cooperating with their investigation.

San Francisco Burma Superstar has been in business for over 17 years, serving hundreds of people everyday and this is the first incident that we have ever had in our history. We have and continue to adhere to the highest food safety health practices, including having DPH officials provide food safety seminars to our staff. Additionally, we have always utilized vendors that provide only the best ingredients.

We are working with public health officials to identify the exact cause of these incidents, and the City has reassured us that this was an isolated case and that San Francisco Burma Superstar is a safe place to eat.

We plan to continue using thorough food safety practices and will ensure that all of our vendors do so as well. We are confident that any exposure has been eliminated and that this appears to be an isolated and singular incident. We greatly apologize for the inconvenience this has caused and thank all of our customers for their continued support and patience. We are doing everything we can to ensure that an incident of this type never occurs again. We have decided to voluntarily close our restaurant over the Labor Day holiday and plan to reopen on Monday.”