Event Update: The Health Unit has confirmed, through laboratory tests, that Norovirus was the cause of the gastrointestinal outbreak at 3 events catered by Maltese Grocery. To date, ▲85 people have reported being ill.
Once reports of illness were received, the Health Unit and Maltese Grocery acted quickly to protect the public, by suspending the catering operations.
"We are very sorry for everyone who has been affected and we take full responsibility," say Lisa and Dave Maltese, owners of Maltese Grocery. "We are working with the Health Unit and have taken every precaution to ensure this does not happen again. We thank our customers and friends for their ongoing support through this difficult time."
Now that the Health Unit has determined the source of the outbreak, Maltese Grocery will be reopening catering operations. The grocer has a good inspection record and has been fully cooperative throughout the investigation.
"We are confident in the steps that have been taken by Maltese Grocery," says Abby Mackie, senior public health inspector. The symptoms that have been reported – including vomiting, diarrhea and nausea (See Norovirus Factsheet for more information.) – are typical of a Norwalk-like illness. Noroviruses are commonly responsible for gastro-intestinal outbreaks at large gatherings where food is provided. See Hazard tab for details.
The Health Unit would like to remind the public of the importance of proper hand washing techniques as one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illness-causing germs. Taking 15 seconds to wash with soap and water will reduce your risk of getting a cold, the flu and other common infections.
It is the holiday season and many people are preparing a large amount of food for family and friends. As always, we remind you to use safe food handling practices and to wash your hands well before preparing food and after using the washroom.
If you have any questions, please contact the TBDHU at 625-5900 or visit www.TBDHU.com/eh/foodsafety.