“Is this your first time?”

By ayr July 13, 2013

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That’s normally a question we’re asking customers we don’t recognize. Last night it was the question I was asked by a state epidemiologist I’d called to learn more about a Salmonela outbreak in Massachusetts.

We learned late Friday that there is a Salmonela outbreak in Massachusetts. Some of the confirmed cases ate at Clover over the course of the days leading up to their illness. Of course, the idea that somebody could have become sick eating our food is shocking, and very concerning. The state told me they don’t know yet where the Salmonela is coming from and are currently investigating.

This is something we take very seriously. Clover has never been responsible for any food poisoning or food borne illness that we know of. That’s because we operate clean and take this sort of thing really really seriously.

My first thought was to stop serving eggs until we learn more. The epidemiologist with the state  helped me understand that Salmonela can come from a product we were serving (e.g., eggs, chicken, etc.) or it can come from an employee who was carrying the disease. We have a strict sickness policy (if you’re sick you need to let us know immediately and not work). And I have faith that our employees are really great people and communicate honestly with us about illness because they know we have their best interest at heart and will not punish them for being sick. But apparently people can carry Salmonela and be asymptomatic.

Knowing that, and not knowing much else we decided to close all operations this weekend as a precaution until we learn more. The most recent case they know about was from 6/27/13. We don’t want even the chance to creating illness, so we thought it best to close our operations until we know more. As a precaution the management team is scouring every surface of every operation. We sanitize surfaces throughout the day and clean every location thoroughly a couple times a day. But we’re taking this chance to do a super deep spring cleaning of everything. It’s been a good bonding experience.

We are examining our ingredients and suppliers. All appropriate Clover employees are being tested for Salmonela. Every day Clover food is tasted by location managers before being served, and we don’t know of any Clover managers who got sick.

Right now I really don’t know much. I’ve asked the state to share any details with us as their investigation proceeds. We’ll keep you updated. We’re going to be extra careful and we’re not opening any location until we learn more.

Sorry everybody. We’re looking forward to re-opening when we learn more.

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