Why are 255 people sick and 12 hospitalized, you ask? Well, there’s been another Salmonella outbreak, this time at Pasha Mediterranean Grill at the Wurzbach Road location in San Antonio, Texas, and the outbreak has become much larger than anyone originally thought. According to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District earlier today, 184 confirmed salmonella illnesses had been reported, which is over three times the number of cases that were originally reported on September 5th. Now, that number is up to 255, and still expected to grow.
Here’s all you need to know!
What is Pasha?
According to the restaurants website, two families came together back in 2008 with the joint dream of providing “a culinary experience fit for Pasha.” The term Pasha was once bestowed upon those who earned prestigious recognition, much similar to knighthood, and throughout the history of the Eastern Mediterranean, it has been famous for producing world renowned chefs and gastronomical delights. The restaurant’s website explains that “Pasha Mediterranean Grill was established in honor of this great heritage and strives to bring you a unique and healthy alternative that does not disappoint. Let our award winning menu and pleasant staff take you on a culinary journey where only the freshest ingredients will do.”
While this restaurant may have had high hopes of delivering their customers high quality, culinarily impressive foods, just recently nearly three hundred customers have reached out announcing that the Wurzbach Road location in San Antonio, Texas made them incredibly sick. The San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department was immediately involved. The restaurant’s managers admitted that at least two of their employees ended up getting sick with fever, nausea, and diarrhea. They had also returned to work without the proper doctor’s release to do so.
After investigating the restaurant, authorities discovered a wide range of issues, including, but not limited to the following report:
- No sanitizing buckets at prep tables
- Chlorine concentration too high
- Pull out coolers not maintaining proper temperature
- Cut, diced, ready to eat vegetables did not meet minimum temperature requirement
- Improper use of gloves by food handler
- Food handler not washing hands between tasks
- Food handler using soiled towel to wipe off meat tenderizer
- Food handler using soiled towel to wipe off prep table
- Food handler seen drinking from open container
- Plastic water bottles seen throughout preparation area
Several issues were corrected on-site during the inspection, including the chlorine concentration and missing sanitation bucket. Many other food handling habits were corrected, and one employee was quickly sent home despite s/he saying that they no longer felt any symptoms of their illness.
As previously stated, 255 people have reported having an illness and 12 have been hospitalized. Thankfully, no deaths have been reported. The Metro Health has made it known that they have received well over 200 phone calls so far from people who believe they might have been infected due to the Mediterranean Grill. The health agency believes the case numbers will only grow.
Everyone is being encouraged to call 311 in order to properly report their illnesses in order for all of their cases to be easily tracked and confirmed, thus making the investigation process all the easier. People who suspect that they’ve become infected with salmonella due to Pasha Mediterranean Grill are being advised from professionals to seek medical treatment as soon as is possible in order to avoid the dangers of the infection, such as dehydration that leads to hospitalization.
The medical community in and around San Antonio is being advised from the Metro Health to test for salmonella if a patient complains about nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach cramps. Such cases happened for one ailing couple, who said that they were affected by salmonella after visiting the Pasha Grill. According to the husband, “I had to literally pull over and go to the bathroom at a couple of fast food restaurants. Then I got home, and I was like, ‘Bage, I don’t know – my stomach has been acting strange.’” He explained that his wife faced similar symptoms.
“(She) just couldn’t get in enough fluid for what was coming out. But the great thing is that we didn’t get the nausea. We didn’t get the vomiting. So we were blessed because that would have put her in the hospital. It scared us and scared me to death with her being over 31 weeks (pregnant),” He said. “Dehydration would put her in preterm labor.”
The investigation is ongoing, and according to Dr. Colleen Bridger, the Metro Health director, the agency has discovered salmonella as the culprit, but they don’t know from what. Bridger says, “We don’t know where it came from, food handlers, or whether it came from the food that was being served or both.” Bridger explained that salmonella bacteria thrives in foods that haven’t been properly stored, prepared, or served at the right temperatures, and it can be spread if the food handler or server is sick or does not properly wash their hands.
The Pasha Mediterranean Grill is working alongside authorities, including identifying that the refrigerator wasn’t cold enough and the staff wasn’t handling food properly. According to the restaurants operations director, the inspectors have been “walking us through the process, advising us what all we should do, how to handle everything.”
Food safety is so important, and reporting a case of food poisoning to the appropriate authorities can help the investigation process identify the contaminant. If you have recently eaten at the restaurant in question and have begun to manifest illness symptoms, seek help from your healthcare provider and report the situation immediately.
Our Salmonella Lawyer is Here to Help You
If you believe you have developed Salmonella after eating at Pasha Mediterranean Grill in San Antonio, we want you to know that a Salmonella lawyer at the Lange Law Firm, PLLC is currently investigating this matter and offering free legal consultations. Our lawyer, Jory Lange, grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and became a lawyer to help make our communities and families safer.
If you or a loved one have become ill after eating at Pasha Mediterranean Grill, you can call 833.330.3663 for a free consultation or complete the form here.
By: Abagail Ryan, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)