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article imageLargest outbreak of foodborne illness in Philly sickens 100

By Karen Graham     Mar 28, 2015 in Health
Philadelphia - A Chinese New Year Banquet in Philadelphia has led to one of the largest suspected foodborne illness outbreaks in the city's history. Almost 100 lawyers and law students became ill, but citing a 1955 state law, health officials cannot discuss the case.
Nearly 250 guests attended the Lunar New Year banquet held at Joy Tsin Lau, a well-known dim-sum hot-spot, for an eight-course meal covered by local media as a fund-raiser for a group of Temple University law students, the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association.
Two days later, dozens of attendees became ill, with many going to the Emergency room. The owner of the restaurant, Chi Mabel Chan, has owned the establishment for 30 years. She insists the illnesses did not come from eating the food at her restaurant. "It was not a problem with my restaurant," she said, blaming the chilly weather or drinking too much at a local karaoke bar after the dinner.
The city's health department said it could not discuss the possible foodborne illness outbreak, citing a 1955 state law called the Pennsylvania Disease Prevention and Control Law, which prohibits health authorities from disclosing information on diseases.
Officials did say the food source had been identified. Records also show that Joy Tsin Lau restaurant has had food-safety problems dating back several years. The last inspection held on Feb. 10, 2015 cited five foodborne health risks, several of them violations having to do with storing foods at too high a temperature in the refrigerators.
Jack Jiang, a University of Pennsylvania researcher, attended the banquet with his girlfriend. He said, “If you enjoy being on your back for the 48 hours post-dinner writhing in pain, burning up, and exploding out of all orifices, then this is the restaurant for you."
It is suspected that Norovirus is the likely culprit in this foodborne illness outbreak. Norovirus is a leading cause of foodborne illness due to contaminated food. Symptoms of infection include stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea, including throwing up. These symptoms can be very serious, especially in children and older adults.
More about Philadelphia, foodborne illness, largest outbreak, Chinese New Year, food safety standards
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