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HEALTH Expands Investigation of Salmonella Outbreak -- Updated List of Zeppole Vendors

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) continues its investigation of an outbreak of Salmonella, possibly related to zeppoles. HEALTH has now received reports of 25 people who are ill throughout the state, with a common characteristic among many as having consumed zeppoles from DeFusco’s Bakery. 13 of the 25 have tested positive for Salmonella and 10 people have been hospitalized (note, yesterday's press release incorrectly stated that 13 people had been hospitalized when the correct number was 10). The most likely cause of illness is consumption of zeppole pastries that came in contact with raw eggs. Pastry shells from DeFusco's had been stored in used egg crates, which could have exposed the shells to infected raw eggs. HEALTH's Office of Food Protection continues working to identify all bakeries that sold zeppoles made by DeFusco's and is also looking into the source of the eggs. HEALTH's State Laboratories are working through the weekend to test food samples in order to pinpoint the exact source of illness.

HEALTH has now learned that American Bakery Supplies, a distributor in West Warwick, purchased zeppoles from DeFusco's. The company then distributed the pastries to Roch's Market in West Warwick; Meal Works in Coventry; and Touch of Class Catering in West Warwick. Meal Works (a catering company) served these zeppoles at events on March and 18 at West Warwick Manor Senior Center, St John and Paul Church in Coventry, Sparrow Point (senior facility) in West Warwick, and Crescent Park Manor in Riverside.

Zeppoles from DeFusco’s Johnston store were also sold at all DeFusco’s locations; Colvitto’s Bistro in Narragansett (note, yesterday's press release incorrectly listed the bakery's name as Calvitto's in Narragansett); Sal’s Bakery in Providence; and Focaccia World in Johnston. All five Crugnale Bakery locations in Providence, East Providence, North Providence, Cranston, and Cumberland also sold DeFusco’s zeppoles from March 16 through March 20.

During this investigation HEALTH also discovered unsafe food storage practices at Buono's Bakery in Providence. Their zeppole, cream puff, and éclair shells were also stored in used egg crates, which could lead to contamination from raw eggs. People are advised to immediately discard all baked goods from any DeFusco's ; zeppoles from any of the above locations; and zeppoles, cream puffs, and éclairs from Buono's Bakery in Providence.

Anyone who has eaten any of the above-mentioned products and has gotten sick (especially with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) should contact their healthcare provider immediately for evaluation and treatment. Because foods of animal origin, including eggs, may be contaminated with Salmonella, people should not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat or raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products. In addition, raw eggs and uncooked meats should be kept separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods in order to avoid cross-contamination. Hands, cutting boards, counters, knives, and other utensils should be washed thoroughly after touching uncooked foods. Boxes that contained eggs or raw meat product should never be used for any other purpose. People should wash their hands before handling food, and between handling different food items. ###

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