KITV.com reports that Peppa’s Korean BBQ in Honolulu has reopened after several E. coli O157:H7 illnesses were linked to the restaurant. The station reports that "the State Health Department said they found no signs of E. coli in an investigation of the Peppa’s Restaurant on South King Street," and as a result, gave the restaurant clearance to reopen, which the restaurant did for lunch today.
The good news is that the clearance to reopen is an indication that the health department believes there is no further risk of disease spreading from the restaurant–i.e. the place is clean and free of environmental contamination. This is good news for anybody who has recently eaten at the restaurant. There are a wide number of possibilities as to how the food became contaminated, sickening the several people that it did, but if the health department is allowing the restaurant to reopen, it must be comfortable that there is no longer a contaminated ingredient at the restaurant.
This stands in stark contrast to some restaurant outbreaks, which are particularly prone as retail establishments serving finished products to large-scale outbreaks as a result of employee illness and/or environmental contamination. Such was precisely the case in the recent Shigella outbreak linked to a Subway restaurant in Lombard, Illinois, which I believe still remains closed after being shuttered now for about a month in the wake of an outbreak that has caused at least 116 people to suffer culture-confirmed infections. It is known that employees at the restaurant were sick, and it is almost a certainty that the restaurant was widely contaminated, given the extent of the outbreak and long period of closure.