Health inspectors clear Strathroy Portuguese venue after reports of food poisoning

The latest inspection at the Strathroy Portuguese Canadian Club has turned up no infractions.

Health Officials have been investigating after reports that a large number of people got sick following a Strathroy-Caradoc Ducks Unlimited fundraising dinner on March 30.

“A number of people started contacting the health unit to let us know they were ill with symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and some fever,” said Mary Lou Albanese, manager of infectious disease control with the health unit.

“The commonality between the calls was that they were at the same dinner the night before, so then we started to investigate, asking the individuals about what they had eaten and what they are experiencing.”

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That prompted a site inspection from public health inspectors on April 1, which turned up one critical infraction, and four non-critical infractions.

The report from that inspection showed that the banquet hall failed to maintain pest control measures, didn’t have a trained food handler supervising the kitchen and didn’t ensure utensils, equipment and facilities were cleaned and sanitized.

The inspector also found the dishwasher wasn’t designed or maintained to ensure utensils are sanitized and the kitchen’s walls and ceilings weren’t clean and in good repair.

Those infractions were resolved in a report that was completed on April 10.

“Every inspection that is posted on our website is a point in time, so that’s what was seen at that point in time by the public health inspector, and at this point in time, this is the new results,” said Albanese, who adds the owners of the Strathroy-based club has been very co-operative with investigators.

“That’s what (we) endeavour to achieve with all of our owners and operators is to achieve compliance with everything, and willingness on their part is extremely important.”

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That’s the club’s third inspection in four months after suspected food-borne illness complaints arising from two separate events.

Albanese says narrowing down the exact source can be difficult, and relies heavily on those who were impacted.

She says food that was left over from the event is also helpful.

“We can package that and send that to the public health lab for testing, then test the samples from those involved, and see if the same organisms come back.

The investigation is ongoing, and Albanese says they are awaiting results from the samples they sent to the lab.

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