Cheesecake Factory Salmonella Outbreak LawsuitIn August 2014, the Central District Health Department (CDHD) in Boise, Idaho investigated an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis among customers of the Cheesecake Factory located in Boise. Initially a cluster of 4 case patients infected with an indistinguishable genetic strain (SE003) were reported. CDHD staff interviewed 3 of the four individuals and determined they all had eaten at the Cheesecake Factory located at 330 North Milwaukee in Boise Town Square.
Salmonella isolates submitted to the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (IBL) for confirmation and genetic testing were analyzed. By September 17, 2014 the IBL had identified 7 additional patient isolates as strain SE003. Ten of the eleven ill persons had eaten at the Cheesecake Factory. The one person who did not eat at the restaurant attended forest fire training camp in Oregon where meals were catered.
Meal dates of Cheesecake Factory associated cases ranged from August 6-23, 2014. A common food item eaten by 6 of the 10 Cheesecake Factory customers was whipped cream. Three people could not recall if they consumed whipped cream. One person did not have dessert or whipped cream.
On August 26 CDHD Environmental Health Specialists (EHS) conducted an onset inspection at the restaurant. Employees were queried about illness. Food preparation practices were discussed. There were no ill food workers. Foods collected for laboratory testing were negative for Salmonella.
CDHD inspectors observed a problem with cleaning and sanitizing the whipped cream machine. It was rinsed each night but no sanitization was happening. Some bare hand contact was noted and addressed with management. The restaurant implemented a sanitation step after discussions with CDHD EHS and no addition cases were detected.
Marler Clark represented Monica Davis who had a particularly severe salmonella infection that resulted in C. Difficile Sepsis and required a fecal microbiota transplant. Attorneys at Marler Clark achieved a settlement covering Monica's medical expenses and pain and suffering.