The Rhode Island Health Department has officially confirmed that samples taken from cardboard boxes at DeFusco’s Bakery, previously containing raw eggs, tested positive for Salmonella. Those same boxes were used to store empty pastry shells later sold to the bakery’s customers.
The Health Department reported that if any of the eggs that had been in the cardboard boxes were contaminated with Salmonella and were cracked, it could leave a residue within the box making the occurrence of cross-contamination highly likely. Health officials believe that this is what probably happened when DeFusco’s Bakery stored its empty pastry shells in the previously used cardboard boxes, resulting in the Salmonella outbreak that has, to date, caused 56 infections and 26 hospitalizations.
Health Department spokeswoman, Annemarie Beardsworth, indicated that health officials will continue their investigation of DeFusco’s Bakery in the coming weeks.
The state laboratory is analyzing the samples further to see if the strain of salmonella matches the strain that made people sick. Inspectors are also returning to the bakery to gather swabs from equipment and surfaces to pinpoint the original source of the contamination.