MB- Approximately 20 people are reported to be infected with Salmonella from the consumption of zeppoles, an Italian stuffed puff pastry. From reports, this appears to be a case of cross contamination. The empty cooked shells were reportedly stored in empty egg crates. Too often, less concern is placed upon bread items as a source for foodborne pathogens. But Salmonella can survive in dry process environments and potentially contaminate foods if proper care is not taken. Salmonella does not need to grow on the food, just be present in sufficient numbers to cause illness. In this case, Salmonella may have been present on the egg cases and was transferred to the pastry. If one had to guess, the egg crates were probably stored at room temperature, giving Salmonella a chance to grow on the unclean surface. (Makes me question the source of the eggs as well).
Tainted zeppole shells now eyed in salmonella probe
1:00 PM Sun, Mar 27, 2011
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Health has increased to 23 the number of possible salmonella cases in people who consumed zeppoles made by DeFuscos's Bakery in Johnston.
And the department now says the source of the salmonella contamination may not be just the cream used in the filling of the zeppole shells, but the shells themselves.
Andrea Bagnall-Degos, a Health Department spokeswoman, said Sunday that lab tests have confirmed 13 cases of salmonella so far among the suspected 23 reported illnesses. Thirteen people have been hospitalized; 10 remained in the hospital as of midday Sunday, she said.
DeFusco's Bakery voluntarily closed after health inspectors found that pastry cream was stored at unsafe temperature and in unsanitary conditions.
Bagnall-Degos said the health department has now determined that the bakery stored zeppole shells in used egg crates, possibly exposing the shells to raw egg residue.
"The probable source [of the salmonella contamination] is raw eggs," she said. "We're still working to find the source of the infection of the eggs."
The department is also working to determine all the locations where the zeppoles and zeppole shells were sold.
The pastries were distributed by American Bakery Supplies in West Warwick . Its customers include all five Crugnale Bakery locations in Providence, East Providence, North Providence, Cranston and Cumberland, Calvitto's Pizza & Bakery in Narragansett, Sal's Bakery in Providence, and Focaccia World in Johnston.
The health department advises that all baked goods from DeFusco's be discarded and any zeppole purchased from stores that offer DeFusco products be discarded immediately.
The first reported case of illness was March 21, two days after St. Joseph's Day.
Anyone who has fallen ill, particularly with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea after eating baked goods purchased from DeFusco's or zeppole from any of the stores where the baked goods are sold, should contact a doctor, the Health Department warned.
In general, it takes one to three days for a salmonella infection to produce symptoms, including nausea, cramps, diarrhea and fever. The illness generally lasts four to seven days and can be especially severe in the very young, the elderly and anyone whose immune system is weak. When hospitalization occurs, it's usually because the diarrhea has become severe, according to a fact sheet from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.