July 16, 2013

Amateurs to experts?

Since I opened Clover we’ve never been responsible for any food poisoning that we know of. Not one case. I attribute this to our employees, clean practices, clean kitchens, and clean food. It’s part of why the possibility that we may have been serving food associated with this Massachusetts salmonella outbreak was so shocking to us all. And while I’m trying to keep an open mind and investigate every avenue thoroughly, it’s just about impossible for me to imagine one of our employees was the source. But I’m trying to set my bias aside and approach this thing with an open mind and investigate thoroughly.

I don’t know much more than I did the other day. But I thought I’d share an update, and what I learned. Feels like a long time since this started. And I think our approach is really awesome. We should write a guide for other businesses at the end. Megan, John, Chris, Lucia, and our other leaders have been doing stuff really well.

– It’s now been 19 days since the last confirmed case of exposure. Salmonella typically takes 12 to 72 hours to develop. So that’s good

– This outbreak has resulted in no hospitalizations. A reporter told me that yesterday. Big relief. I don’t know, I guess I was imagining a bunch of people sick in hospital beds…

– There were 1200 cases of salmonella in MA last year. That’s crazy! Also something I learned from a reporter

– Speaking of reporters, there have been a lot of you! I’m expecting you’re all going to be equally excited about our movie nights on the trucks later this summer, right? Or our next beer launch featuring a beer made with MA-grown grains? Seriously, reporters have all been really nice and supportive as well.

– Customers have been awesome. It was really scary to post the other day. I thought, well, this is what we do, we talk about what’s happening openly and honestly. But yikes. When I committed to transparency I didn’t really have something like this in mind. Anyway, I was bracing for backlash. Instead you all have been so amazing. And that’s great because it’s our employees who have developed our reputation daily. This is super tough for all of them. Financially and otherwise. I mean everybody really believes in what we’re doing and it feels scary to have something you care about face peril. So thanks for your kind words. I’m sharing them with staff.

– Employees are awesome. We’ve been asking folks to do pretty difficult and embarrassing things. Talking to us honestly about any illness and symptoms, getting tested for Salmonella. And in the meantime they are out of a job. But you know what, I feel like everybody who comes in has something nice to share with us. I’m asking Megan to compile a post about kind stories employees are telling us as they come in. It’s really touching. I’m lucky to be working with you all.

Like I said, we don’t know much. In the meantime we’re testing everybody to make sure all staff are healthy. We’ve accounted for the medical history of 100% of our employees (128 people) over the last couple of months through interviews. We’re scouring and re-scouring our already clean restaurants and trucks. We’re looking at all of our safety procedures asking how to make them better. And we’re looking hard at our suppliers, investigating any suspicious products that could have been involved with this outbreak.

I’ll update when I know more. Closed until further notice.

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