“We all got sick just two hours after eating at a restaurant!” – Part 1

Back in the 1990s, I served as an expert witness in a lawsuit that alleged a restaurant made a lot of school-aged children ill, including their parents.

The events went something like this…

Following an after-school dance class, the parents decided to serve pizza. One parent volunteered to go get the pizza, bringing her daughter along with her.

They picked up the pizza and on the drive back to the dance class, the daughter ate a slice. Immediately, she started complaining of a stomach ache.

They brought the pizza back to the dance class, and when the event was over, the children and parents ate the pizza.

Over the next day or so, quite a few of the parents and children reported stomach aches and diarrhea, some with blood in it.  And soon a lot of them were visiting their doctors.

The mother who had purchased the pizza believed it had to be the pizza, remembering how fast her daughter became ill after eating just one slice. She notified the health department and soon an epidemiological investigation was underway.

The parents and children were interviewed by the health investigators, who ask them what foods they had eaten in the past 72 hours, as well as their recent activities –where had they been, what had they done, and who had they met? The investigators spoke with the restaurant, and also the doctors who treated the patients.

They were especially interested in knowing what the hospital laboratory had found in the diarrhea!

And soon, lawyers were involved.

Read Part 2 to discover what caused the illnesses.

If you have any questions or comments, please submit them in the boxes below.

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