When we go out to a restaurant, we normally do so with expectation that the food provided there will be tasty, enjoyable, and most importantly: not give us food poisoning. However, according to news reports, officials have been investigating a possible food poisoning outbreak concerned with Barbarie’s Black Angus Grill at 5 Eagle Road in Danbury, Connecticut. After allegedly eating at that precise facility a few weekends ago, people have started getting sick, so authorities are looking into why that could be. Here’s what you need to know about the Barbarie’s Black Angus Grill outbreak.
After learning of multiple complaints from customers of Barbarie’s Black Angus Grill, the City of Danbury Health Department began working with the staff of the restaurant in order to determine the source of any illnesses. Unfortunately, nothing has turned up yet and officials are unsure if the illnesses can actually be linked back to the restaurant in question. According to Lisa Morrissey, the New Haven Register, Danbury Health and Human services director, “Investigators have not determined that Black Angus was the source of any of the complainants’ food poisoning.”
Morrissey went on to say that “Black Angus has been very compliant and I know they did their own deep clean of the restaurant and are talking to their own staff about some food handling practices.” The initial reports of illnesses first reached the Health Department on Wednesday, December 26, 2018, but officials have yet to release how many individuals have been sickened. Their symptoms are being kept classified as well. Citing the health privacy laws, Morrissey explained that she could not testify to how many reports the city has received of illnesses, nor how many people have become sick.
“Our team, they were out there yesterday and today following up on complaints, as we’d do for any complaint we receive regarding a licensed food service establishment,” Morrissey explained recently after the news of a potential outbreak was known. “But at this point it’s really too early to tell [what caused diners’ illnesses]…Black Angus staff are working with health inspectors to try to determine the cause of the illnesses, manager Jamie Barbarie said Thursday evening.”
The manager, Jamie Barbarie, went on to say that “At the end of the day, we just want to make sure everyone knows the Barbarie name has been around for over 60 years in this city and the biggest and highest priority is just the safety of all our patrons and their health and getting to the bottom of all this. We’re working alongside the health department in order to do so.” Black Angus Grill’s most recent health inspection was dated August 15 and according to city health records, the restaurant passed with a score of 91. Out of an abundance of caution, however, the restaurant closed voluntarily after reports of illness started coming in, and didn’t reopen until December 28th, 2018. Even after thorough testing, investigators have not determined that Black Angus was the source of any of the complainants’ food poisoning.
Even though this failure to identify a source is good tidings for Barbarie’s Black Angus Grill, it does lead everyone to the confusing question: where did the illnesses come from? The time frame is typical of most foodborne illness cases, since people tend to get sick up to three days after exposure to Salmonella infections, and 4 to 7 days after coming into contact with E. coli. The simple fact that a large portion of food poisoning outbreaks are linked to restaurants and delis further mystifies this situation. A 2013 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that up to 68% of all outbreaks are linked to these types of facilities, making this recent outbreak somewhat confusing since the restaurant in question doesn’t seem to have caused the illnesses.
There are many other ways illnesses can be spread, however, specifically foodborne illnesses. When you hear the word “poison,” you might associate it with toxic substances or skull warning labels, but it’s important to understand that many foods have the potentiality of harm. The truest definition of poison is simply a substance that has the ability to cause illness or death when absorbed, ingested, or otherwise consumed. If you find you have some sort of stomach bug and you’re pretty sure it isn’t the flu (or Barbarie’s Black Angus Grill that you visited a week ago), then consider if you’ve eaten any of these foods in the last few days:
Remember that food poisoning doesn’t always come from the restaurants! It can happen in your own kitchen, so practice safe food handling and preparation techniques in order to keep you and your family safe.
By: Abbey Ryan Elder, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)