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Iron Town Diner in Saugus closes temporarily after salmonella cases

Wicked Local North - 7/27/2019

Jul. 27--Iron Town Diner is temporarily closed until further notice after three customers contracted salmonella.

Saugus Board of Health Chairman William Heffernan said three Iron Town Diners customers came down with salmonella and two restaurant employees tested positive for salmonella.

Heffernan reported that Iron Town Diner received contaminated turkey from a supplier.

Of the Iron Town Diner customers who contracted salmonella, two ordered a turkey dinner and one ate corned beef at the restaurant, Heffernan said.

The same slicer was used to cut both the turkey and corned beef, Heffernan said.

Iron Town Diner closed voluntarily this week in order to conduct a thorough cleaning, Heffernan said.

In a July 25 post on its Facebook site, Iron Town Diner announced it came to the restaurant's attention that a food-borne illness may be present.

"We have willingly chosen to temporarily close to give us time to conduct thorough testing to ensure our employees and customers remain safe," Iron Town Diner's post reads. "Note, we are working with the Saugus Board of Health on this matter. They have permitted us to remain open; however, we believe it is in the best interest of our employees and customers to voluntarily close while further testing is conducted."

Heffernan said the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is handling the screening of Iron Town Diner employees for salmonella.

Once the state process concludes the Saugus Board of Health can give the go-ahead for Iron Town Diner to reopen following a clean inspection, Heffernan said.

The town inspected Iron Town Diner previously this week and another inspection is expected in the near future, according to Heffernan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses in the United States every year -- with food the source for about 1 million of those cases.

Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection and the illness usually lasts four to seven days, according to the CDC. In some cases a patient needs to be hospitalized due to severe diarrhea and salmonella can cause death if the infection spreads into the blood stream and other sites unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

As salmonella can spread from animals to people as well as person to person, the CDC recommends that people always wash their hands after contact with animals, using the toilet, changing diapers, or helping someone with diarrhea clean up after using the toilet.

Anyone diagnosed with salmonella should not prepare food or drinks for others until they no longer have diarrhea, the CDC reports.

The CDC explains on its website that salmonella is more common in the summer when hog weather and unrefrigerated foods create ideal conditions for the bacteria to grow. The center advises to refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods and leftovers within two hours, or one hour if the temperature is 90 degrees or warmer.

In its Facebook message to customers, Iron Town Diner wrote that the small family business does its best to serve nothing but the best quality food and service seven days a week.

"The appreciation we have for our customers and employees is paramount," Iron Town Diner wrote. "There is no dollar amount that's greater than safety of our Iron Town family. As stated, it was our choice to temporarily close to ensure we deliver what we promise. We strive to be at 110 percent everyday. Some might think we are crazy, but we follow our hearts and do what's right. We shall be open shortly. Thank you for understanding. We look forward to seeing you all when we reopen."

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