FLORENCE – The Pinal County Public Health Services District (PCPHSD) took action today to temporarily suspend the food establishment permit of the Windmill Winery in Florence. The temporary suspension is being conducted while officials with PCPHSD conduct an investigation into a Salmonella outbreak that is linked to a wedding that took place at the facility on March 19.
The PCPHSD was alerted to the outbreak after they received a call from a participant of the wedding who reported that several attendees were sick and at least 4 were hospitalized. At that time Public Health officials began an investigation into the Windmill Winery’s food practices and discovered that the operators had exceeded their legally allowable level of food preparation and used a non-permitted caterer.
“All are serious violations of the Pinal County Environmental Health Code and Arizona state statute,” said PHPSD Director Tom Schryer. “Our inspection and preliminary review of the practices of this operator found several potential sources of this outbreak, but it will take at least the next several days to determine the cause.”
Schryer stated the public’s health and safety are at the forefront of this action.
“While we search for an exact cause the prudent thing to do is suspend food service in the facility so that is the action I am taking today,” Schryer said. “The goal is to protect the public’s safety.”
The exact cause of the illnesses will be under investigation for some time.
As of April 3, at least 22 people have been reported ill that attended the wedding, but this number is expected to grow as the investigation progresses. The PCPHSD is working with State health officials and the CDC to investigate these cases. Most people infected with Salmonella develop fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping that starts between 12 and 72 hours after exposure. Symptoms typically last four to seven days and most people recover without any treatment. However, in some the infection may become severe and require hospitalization. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are at higher risk of more serious disease in this case one of those hospitalized was a young child.
Officials at the PCPHSD requests that anyone who has ate at this facility and then experienced symptoms call their hotline at 520-866-4460 for those who speak English and 520-866-4465 for those who speak Spanish. Callers will be directed to leave their name and contact information so a public health employee can return their call, expected response times are to be 48-72 hours due to the number of interviews the PCPHSD are conducting.
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