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Reports of Food Poisoning at Chuck E Cheese and Other Violations Lands the Lexington Restaurant on “Enhanced Regulatory Enforcement” and Temporary Closure

Posted in Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls on April 28, 2024

Reports of food poisoning at Chuck E Cheese along with other violations lands the Lexington restaurant on “enhanced regulatory enforcement” and a temporary closure of the facility. It is a type of probation for a food business.

More than 15 people at a birthday party became sick after eating at the restaurant. One person in the group was hospitalized for sepsis.

Repeat Major Violations May Have Contributed to Food Poisoning at Chuck E Cheese

The restaurant, Chuck E Cheese, located at 1555 New Circle Rd. in the Woodhill Plaza of Lexington, Kentucky was shut down after multiple violations. These major violations may have contributed to the food poisoning at Chuck E Cheese and other safety concerns.

March 15 Inspection

The initial problem was discovered on March 15, where the restaurant scored an 80 on their inspection report. Several violations were noted on this inspection.

March 15 inspection violations included:

  • No certified food manager present
  • Employees did not demonstrate knowledge of food safety and could not produce a health reporting agreement
  • Employee drink and phone were stored on food preparation surface
  • Improper sanitizing
  • Food not date marked
  • Unlabeled chemical bottle found in restroom hanging within reach of children
  • Chemical bottle stored on food prep surface
  • Employee not wearing hair restraint while opening cheese and putting into shredder
  • The previous inspection scorecard was not properly displayed visibly for customers
  • Scoops of self-service ice cream were not properly stored
  • Pizza boxes were stored on the floor
  • Waste was not disposed of at a frequency appropriate to prevent accumulation
  • And more!

March 29 Inspection

The follow up inspection was performed on March 29 and resulted in an improved score of 94. The facility still lacked a certified food manager and was warned that their permit would be suspended if the issue was not resolved by April 5.

This was just one day before the birthday party leading to reports of food poisoning and hospitalization.

April 9 Inspection

The restaurant was not reinspected until April 9, when continued violations warranted closure.

Other serous violations were observed on April 9 including:

  • No food protection manager on staff (previous food protection manager quit)
  • No certified food manager present
  • Employee food was stored improperly
  • Cell phone and employee hair restraint was stored on food prep surface
  • Hair restraint was not worn during food prep
  • Chemical bottles were observed on food preparation surface

The restaurant manager was ordered to close the facility on April 9. On April 10, an application for reinstatement was received and after an inspection report score of 100 on April 12, the restaurant reopened.

The restaurant was allowed to reopen after two closures, despite a report of potential food poisoning that resulted in at least one hospitalization.

Reports of Food Poisoning at Chuck E Cheese

A complaint was filed on April 10 to the Lexington County health department where a patron explained that most guests from their party became sick after eating at the Chuck E Cheese in Lexington.

According to the complaint, around fifteen people from a party at Chuck E Cheese on Saturday April 6 became ill. The “family had pizza, cheese bread, wings, fries; sent wings back twice because they were ice cold, pizza was also sent back for temperature reasons.”

“Everyone they’ve talked to at the party is sick,” the complaint said.

The party at food from the restaurant on April 6 and become ill on April 7 with vomiting and diarrhea. One person was hospitalized with sepsis.

The restaurant claims that both chicken wings and pizza come pre-cooked and prepared from frozen. These items are cooked to order and not prepared ahead of time and then kept hot.

A Party Favor Nobody Asked For

Attendees at a child’s birthday party walked away with a party favor that nobody wants.

Food poisoning.

Guests reported issues with temperature and flavor of the food.

“The only thing I ate was pepperoni pizza. I only ate a piece of it because I thought it tasted funny,” said Eric Carter.

Wife, Jennifer Carter, said that she had four slices of pizza, one slice of cheese bread, and a bite of a chicken wing.

The wings were sent back because they were cold.

Just forty-eight hours after returning home, the Carters said that at least 20 people from the party reported vomiting, diarrhea, and/or a fever.

Jennifer’s symptoms went from bad to worse. “I had severe diarrhea to the point where I couldn’t hardly get out of bed,” she said.

When her husband went to check on her, he said she stopped breathing, her eyes were very still, and she began to turn blue. Mrs. Carter was sent to the hospital for treatment.

Once recovered, the couple filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

Type and Source of Food Poisoning Unclear

While the exact pathogen and source of the food poisoning is still unknown, many types of foodborne pathogens can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and sepsis symptoms and complications. Temperature control may have played a part in the illness, but there are other potential causes of food poisoning.

Sick food workers can spread foodborne illness. In fact, norovirus (a type of viral foodborne illness) is highly contagious and can easily spread from the employee to food contact surfaces and food items.

Additionally, improper handwashing and hand hygiene, cross-contamination, and so many other factors may contribute to the spread of food poisoning.

Have You Become Sick After Eating at Chuck E Cheese in Lexington?

If you have gotten food poisoning at Chuck E Cheese in Lexington, a food poisoning lawyer can help. An experienced food poisoning lawyer, like The Lange Law Firm, PLLC helps hold those responsible for foodborne illness accountable.

Call (833) 330-3663 for a free consultation 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 Reports of Food Poisoning at Chuck E Cheese, 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)