June 27, 2013

Portland bistro probed as possible source of food-borne illness

Petite Jacqueline is described as a 'commonality' between a food handler and a patron who fell ill.

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

One of those people also ate a hanger steak cooked medium rare for dinner, fell ill and later had the illness confirmed as campylobacter. The spouse had onion soup and a pork chop and also fell ill, but is only considered "a probable case," apparently because no lab test was conducted.

"(The) employee reported handling and consuming several food items at the restaurant, including chicken terrine and steaks," said the complaint received by Rebecca Walsh, a state health inspection supervisor.

Russell followed up on the complaint on June 19. The inspection did not reveal a source of bacteria, but Russell did list some corrective actions that needed to be taken in an inspection report.

Russell's report said the restaurant should stop selling raw, aged cheese. State law prohibits eating establishments from selling raw, or unpasteurized, cheese unless it has been aged at a temperature of 35 degrees or higher for at least 60 days and is appropriately labeled.

Koenigsberg contends that the restaurant was selling appropriately aged cheese and is still working with health officials to clarify the rules. Russell said the eatery can resume selling the cheese as long as the "raw milk" labels are changed to "non-pasteurized."

Russell also noted in his report that the restaurant uses the same color cutting boards for both meat and produce, which could result in accidental cross-contamination even though the boards were being sterilized. And he called on the restaurant to cover food items in the refrigerator to protect against contamination.

According to city records, Petite Jacqueline was inspected in January of 2012 after several people claimed to have gotten sick with cramps and diarrhea after dining there. A group of six people also shared an appetizer of charcuterie, and had a variety of meat dishes for dinner.

One member of the party went to the emergency room at Maine Medical Center and tested positive for campylobacter. The investigation of that incident also could not directly link the sickness to the restaurant's food.

Petite Jacqueline failed the January 2012 inspection, as well as a February 2012 inspection. It was not inspected again until September of that year, when it passed.

 

Staff Writer Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

rbillings@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @randybillings

 

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