Dozens report illnesses after eating at Arby’s restaurant

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Since Feb. 15, at least 40 people have reported becoming ill after eating at an Arby’s restaurant in Springfield, IL. Health officials are investigating and an inspection on Feb. 25 still showed a food temperature violation.

Officials have not yet found the cause of the illnesses.

The Sangamon County restaurant inspection records show the original complaint about the Arby’s on Dirksen Parkway came in and was investigated on Feb. 23. Inspectors have gone back for four “spot checks” since then.

County records show the temperature violation found on Feb. 24 involved unrefrigerated sauces. Those sauces will now be stored in an appropriate place, according to the inspection report.

As of this afternoon, local media was reporting that a specific cause behind the illnesses had not been determined. County health officials were not immediately available for comment when Food Safety News contacted them. The most recent inspection prior to this month was in August 2020.

Restaurant officials told the media they had closed for deep cleaning and then reopened. The first inspection on file for the establishment was in 2010.

The inspection on Feb. 23 showed four categories of violations. They were:

  • Management, the “person in charge” for each shift, food employees, and conditional employees were not up to date on knowledge about food safety. There were also problems with the assignment of responsibilities and reporting;
  • Problems with separating and protecting food from cross-contamination and issues with dirty equipment;
  • Improper cold holding temperatures to protect food from bacterial growth; and
  • Improper date marking and subsequent concerns about the disposal of foods. Some items were thrown out during the inspection.

There are three separate inspection reports for Feb. 24. As of this afternoon, the health department website did not have any violations listed for the Feb. 24 spot checks. The initial inspection on Feb. 23 and the spot check on Feb. 25, both of which found violations, were conducted by one inspector. The other three inspections on Feb. 24, none of which showed violations, were conducted by another inspector.

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