rhodeislandsalmonella.jpgThe Rhode Island Department of Health reports that the case count in the Salmonella outbreak linked to DeFusco’s bakery has increased to 25. 

“[The Department of Health] has now received reports of 25 people who are ill throughout the state, with a common characteristic among many as having consumed zeppoles from DeFusco’s Bakery. 13 of the 25 have tested positive for Salmonella and 10 people have been hospitalized (note, yesterday’s press release incorrectly stated that 13 people had been hospitalized when the correct number was 10).

The Department of Health has also honed in on the cause of the outbreak.  Although the press release does not indicate which strain of salmonella is involved, it is almost certainly enteritidis, because the Department has linked the outbreak to eggs. 

The most likely cause of illness is consumption of zeppole pastries that came in contact with raw eggs.  And the department now says the source of the salmonella contamination may not be just the cream used in the filling of the zeppole shells, but the shells themselves.Pastry shells from DeFusco’s had been stored in used egg crates, which could have exposed the shells to infected raw eggs.

Not only that, but temperature abuse seems to have played a role as well.  More from the Rhode Island Department of Health:

During this investigation HEALTH also discovered unsafe food storage practices at Buono’s Bakery in Providence. Their zeppole, cream puff, and éclair shells were also stored in used egg crates, which could lead to contamination from raw eggs.

Quite an outbreak.  25 people sick.  10 hospitalized.  Lots of medical costs, and not a lot of attention to detail by the manufacturer.