The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and other state health departments, is investigating several foodborne outbreaks in which people report becoming ill after consuming desserts from Rolf’s Patisserie in Lincolnwood, Illinois.

There have been four recent outbreaks where one of the dessert items has come from Rolf’s Patisserie. Approximately 100 people have reported becoming ill after consuming Rolf’s desserts at a company event, catered party, a restaurant and holiday party. Rolf’s is a wholesale and retail sales bakery.

Rolf’s Patisserie is working closely with IDPH and the bakery is temporarily closed while these outbreaks are investigated. Rolf’s is voluntarily recalling all products made after Nov. 1, 2010. The bakery is contacting retailers and restaurants to remove and discard these products from their shelves. Both Rolf’s and public health officials are advising people not to eat these food items and throw them out.

IDPH is working to obtain a distribution list, but individuals or businesses may have already purchased goods for the holidays, so it is important to ask where the dessert is from and avoid consuming desserts from Rolf’s made after Nov. 1, 2010.

Initial laboratory testing shows one food item to be contaminated with high levels of Staphylococcus aureus (staph infection). Food can become contaminated if a person with a staph infection has an uncovered lesion or sore that comes in contact with food or food processing equipment. Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and its toxin can contaminate foods or equipment.

Staphylococcal toxins are fast acting, sometimes causing illness in as little as 30 minutes. Symptoms usually develop within one to six hours after eating contaminated food. Patients typically experience several of the following: nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. The illness is usually mild and most patients recover after one to three days.