Friday, September 25, 2015

Vermont Burger Joint Linked to E. coli Outbreak

A Vermont burger joint has been linked to  7 cases of E. coli. 

Of course it is one of these gourmet burger joints...where they perhaps like to undercook the burgers?..  To see if this is the case, I went to the reviews.

Trip Advisor  (these were within the first 20 reviews I checked)
"We went to Worthy Burgers after hearing much hype about what great burgers they served, I am always looking to a great burger. There were 4 people in our party and we all agreed that although the burgers were good, they fell short of what we would consider a great burger. One of our main complaints was the all the burgers were prepared rare. They do clearly state the burgers will be service pink in the middle, but all 4 burgers were red in the middle. My wife asked if her burger burger could be cooked more and they willing prepared another burger but that was also arrived rare. They should realize not everyone likes their burgers rare and asked how you would like it cooked.

"My rare burger was a large, almost meatball like sphere of meat centered in a dry, almost stale bun with three wilted rings of bermuda onion. Its degree of doneness was so far from rare the best color description I could say it was, was grey with no pink discernible.
Not to be outdone, L's medium rare burger was a lighter shade of pale grey than mine"

And a professional review in Seven Days:
"The burger was slightly underseasoned, a paler cousin to the world-class patties at Worthy’s closest Burlington cognate, the Farmhouse Tap & Grill. A thin strip of pink made it look juicier than it actually was. "

Yep, you need to cook that select grass fed burger to the right temperature, just like any hamburger.  And for those that like that rare hamburger, or refuse to use a thermometer - is it worth the risk?

Valley News
 Vt. Officials Continue E. Coli Investigation

By Jordan Cuddemi  Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, September 25, 2015   (Published in print: Friday, September 25, 2015)
South Royalton — A South Royalton restaurant voluntarily closed for several days recently and switched food vendors after being contacted by state officials who are investigating an E. coli “cluster” that has sickened at least five people.

Meanwhile, state officials have released few details about their investigation, including the potential source of the contamination or how widespread the risk may be.

Jason Merrill, executive chef at Worthy Burger, said the Vermont Department of Health approached the restaurant’s leadership team last week and asked them to consider changing some of their food vendors out of precaution.

“They haven’t told me which ones they wanted me to change, so I changed pretty much all of my vendors,” Merrill said, noting he uses six or seven area farms to supply ingredients for the menu at Worthy Burger, which specializes in locally sourced food.

At least five people have contracted E. coli in what state officials have referred to as a “cluster,” according to the Vermont Department of Health. The locations of the five laboratory-confirmed cases, as well as a sixth case listed as “probable,” haven’t been divulged by health officials nor is it clear how the six cases are connected.

The health department is working on identifying the source of the contamination, spokesman Ben Truman said on Thursday.

“As with other similar investigations, we are working with our federal partners to evaluate all potential sources of the contamination,” Truman said, noting that the department is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Merrill said he doesn’t know if anyone who dined at Worthy Burger contracted E. coli.

“They aren’t really telling us anything,” Merrill said of the health department.

According to the health department’s website, Worthy Burger received a high passing score on its health inspection report in February 2015.

Merrill declined to identify the vendors he had switched from or to. He said the restaurant buys all of its food from Vermont producers, including its meat products, potatoes, vegetables, cheese and buns, and switching suppliers was not an overnight task.

“We had to get products we wanted, and do new taste testing,” Merrill said.

The restaurant closed on Sept. 17 and reopened on Tuesday, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page, which cited unforeseen mechanical issues as the reason for shutting down.

Merrill said while it was closed the restaurant did address some mechanical issues and made infrastructure improvements, including changing regulators in the keg coolers to prevent Co2 spoilage and repairing heating units in preparation for winter, among other things.

All of the mechanical and infrastructure improvements were voluntary, he said, and weren’t related to the E. coli concerns.

A spokesman at Dartmouth-Hitchcock earlier this week confirmed that the hospital has seen one E. coli case in recent weeks.

As part of its investigation, the heath department recently warned clinicians about confirmed cases of E. coli in Vermont, and advised them to be on the lookout for people exhibiting signs of infection, which include diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting.

According to the CDC, most forms of E. coli are a normal and healthy part of the human intestine, but some strains produce toxins that can cause illness.

Undercooked meat, particularly ground beef, fruits, vegetables, seafood, unpasteurized milk and sewage contaminated water are all possible sources for the infection, which can be spread from person to person.

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Jake Leon said the Granite State hasn’t had any confirmed cases of E. coli within the past month.

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