The Odessa American reports that a total of four people in Odessa have sought medical treatment after they said they contracted Salmonella from Ajuua’s Mexican Restaurant, forcing the establishment to temporarily close its doors while undergoing inspections and staff training. Of those four people, two have lab-confirmed cases of Salmonella while the other two were still waiting for results.
The investigation into the claims did not start until two days after they were originally made — and the department announced the findings only after the media inquired about the situation. The health department’s investigation of Ajuua’s started around 4:15 p.m. Friday after someone called to say 10 of the 13 people who had eaten at the restaurant for lunch on Wednesday became ill.
The inspection, done after the closing, had a rating of 87 out of 100, citing the restaurant was out of compliance for keeping food separated and protected during preparation, trash was not cleaned out of the grease bin, food was not dated in the walk-in cooler, there was not a hand sanitizer for the hand sink and there were no paper towels in the men’s restroom. On Wednesday, staff with Ajuua’s went to the restaurant to attend training with the health department regarding food preparation and handling. Several declined comment while walking in the door.
This is not the first time Ajuua’s in Odessa has been in the news about having to close their doors for health-related reasons. In 2011, the restaurant closed their doors after receiving a failing score with the health department, and the health department reported finding maggots outside the kitchen. The restaurant was then put on probation, meaning they had to pass five weekly inspections before being put back on the every-other-month rotation.
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