A woman who works in another Norwalk food service establishment and got sick after eating at Casa Fiesta last month, missed a week-and-a-half of work and plans on a lawsuit against the restaurant.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous because she is a food service worker, ate at the restaurant April 25. She originally thought she had the flu, but went to Fisher-Titus Medical Center on April 29 because she was dehydrated. The hospital confirmed she had Salmonella poisoning.
She said doctors told her she could be off of work for up to six months, but Tim Hollinger, the county health commissioner, said even food service workers with severe cases of food poisoning are back to work in less than a month.
Hollinger said this morning his office is checking into 25 reported cases of food poisoning recently from the Norwalk restaurant.
“I don’t have my test results back yet,” Hollinger said. The Huron County General Health District sent the samples to the Ohio Department of Health for testing and Hollinger said he expects the results back today or Thursday.
Hollinger said anyone who works in food service must follow special rules before returning to work after contracting food poisoning.
“The big thing is to make sure it doesn’t spread,” he said. “If you’re a food worker, it’s very important not to go back to work until you get two clean samples.”
The samples must be taken at least 24 hours apart.
The woman said she already had two clean samples and can head back to work tonight. She went to Fisher-Titus Medical Center, which charges for the tests and does them in-house for quicker results. Hollinger said the health department will conduct the tests at no cost, but it takes three or four days to get results back.
“I have had two children and I have never felt pain like I have from this Salmonella infection that I got from a little lunch,” she said.
She questioned whether Casa Fiesta workers, because many are Hispanic and possibly not fluent in English, understand the health regulations for restaurants.
Gustavo Enrquez, manager of Casa Fiesta, said his workers are all properly trained in food service requirements and follow state laws. He said none of his workers have gotten sick from the food at the restaurant.
“Customers are still coming in,” Enrquez said. “We re-opened Friday evening and have had no problems.”
The restaurant voluntarily threw out all food on hand when the health department contacted Enrquez about possible contamination and closed for a day to disinfect and deep clean the entire restaurant.