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Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel Salmonella Outbreak Sickens At Least 10

Posted in Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on May 20, 2024

The Kankakee County Health Department, along with the Illinois Department of Public Health are currently investigating the Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 10 restaurant patrons so far. Another 4 cases are listed as “probable” at this time.

Here’s what we know.

The Outbreak

Investigators are looking at the Bourbonnais location of Cracker Barrel located at 50 Ken Hayes Drive in the city of Bradley, Illinois. The restaurant voluntarily closed on May 4 to cooperate with a Salmonella outbreak investigation presumably linked to the local eatery.

According to the Kankakee County Health Department, so far there have been 10 confirmed cases with the same strain of Salmonella bacterial infection and another four probable cases. Strong situational information suggests that the common link between outbreak patients is the Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel location.

This Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel Salmonella outbreak may go all the way back to the beginning of the year.

John Bevis, Kankakee County health administrator explained that there have been sporadic cases of Salmonella infection in the area since January. However, these reports are not necessarily centered from one location.

Corporate Office Issues Statement on Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel Salmonella Outbreak

In a statement from the corporate office, the firm explains their role in the investigation.

“The Kankakee County Health Department recently notified us about an investigation it is conducting into the root cause of a specific strain of Salmonella affecting the Kankakee County community. There is nothing more important to Cracker Barrel than the health and safety of our employees and guests; we are doing everything we can to assist the health department in its efforts.”

The Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel Salmonella Outbreak Investigation

Kankakee County Health Department performed an environmental assessment of the location and provided appropriate guidance on safe food handling practices as well as environmental cleaning to help prevent further spread of disease.

The county continues to work with the facility, says Bevis. Once repairs and cleaning activities have been completed, the facility will be given the go-ahead to reopen.

Store Has Reopened

For several days the website information for the Cracker Barrel Bourbonnais location indicated the restaurant was “temporarily closed” and an automated recording to the restaurant’s phone line indicated, “This store is currently closed for improvement projects. Please visit us at a nearby location while we make improvements. We look forward to seeing you soon.”

According to the restaurant, “Out of an abundance of caution we temporarily and voluntarily closed out Bradly location to perform extra maintenance and renovations to the building. We stress that this matter is limited to our Bradley store and does not concern our food supply or other Cracker Barrel locations.”

The store has since reopened.

Salmonella Infection Symptoms to Look Out For

What type of Salmonella infections should you be looking out for?

Symptoms and their severity may vary from person to person. Most normally healthy people only experience mild symptoms and generally recover on their own without medical intervention. Others may experience more serious illness and require medical treatment or even hospitalization to recover.

Common symptoms of Salmonella infection include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Stomach cramps

These symptoms usually begin between six hours and six days after exposure to contaminated food. Most people feel better within a week (four to seven days).

Only those with severe symptoms or at higher risk of severe symptoms typically receive antibiotic treatment.

Higher risk people include children under 5 years old and those taking certain medications (like stomach acid reducers). Infants, adults over 65 years old, and those with a weakened immune system are more likely to experience severe illness if sickened.

Complications of Salmonella Infection

Some people may experience complications from Salmonella bacterial infections. It may take quite some time for bowel habits to return to normal. Some people may experience irritable bowel syndrome symptoms for up to six months. Maybe longer.

Others may develop a type of arthritis, where the Salmonella bacteria enter the joints causing pain. Those with this type of “reactive arthritis” may also experience eye irritation and painful urination.

Kankakee County Health Department Urges Reporting Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel Salmonella Outbreak Symptoms

Kankakee County Health Department continues to monitor additional reports of illness. According to the agency, anyone experiencing diarrheal illness after consuming food from this establishment should reach out to report a suspected food poisoning.

Call the Food Poisoning Complaint line at (815) 802-9400 and select option three.

Have You Been Sickened by the Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel Salmonella Outbreak?

If you have become seriously ill from consuming contaminated food from the Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel, you may be left with questions as to what to do next.

Be Careful, Illness Can Spread Throughout Your Household

Salmonella illness can continue to spread beyond those who consumed food at the Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel. Diarrheal illness spreads easily unless precautions are taken.

Hand hygiene is important, regardless of exposure risk. Washing hands after using the restroom, changing diapers, and coming in contact with higher risk items (such as places where animals live and eat, raw meats, etc.) Also important is washing hands before preparing or eating food.

Someone experiencing diarrheal illness should not prepare food or care for more vulnerable members of the family.

Contact Your Healthcare Provider if Your Symptoms Become Severe

If your symptoms become severe, reach out to your healthcare provider. In some cases, infection can leave the digestive system and enter the bloodstream. This can cause serious complications that may require hospitalization.

Get Advice

If you have become sick from this Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel Salmonella outbreak, you may want to get advice from a food poisoning lawyer. The experienced Salmonella lawyers at The Lange Law Firm, PLLC have helped many people with cases just like yours. Their compassionate team can go over the details of your situation to determine if you have a legal case.

Call (833) 330-3663 for more information or click here to email.

Stay in Touch with Make Food Safe!

If you’d like to know more about food safety topics in the news, like “Bourbonnais Cracker Barrel Salmonella Outbreak Sickens At Least Eight,” check out the Make Food Safe Blog. We regularly update trending topics, foodborne infections in the news, recalls, and more! Stay tuned for quality information to help keep your family safe, while The Lange Law Firm, PLLC strives to Make Food Safe!

By: Heather Van Tassell (contributing writer, non-lawyer)