Source of school lunch sickness still not confirmed

| 11/09/2015 | 12 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Government officials have still not identified what was behind a bout of illness at Red Bay Primary last week in which 107 students and teachers were taken ill after lunch. Government health officials said Friday that 23 people had been treated in hospital in the wake of the sickness outbreak but there had been no further cases. Sean Collins, the MD of the catering company, Mise En Place, which supplied the food, said Tuesday that all tests on their food samples came back negative, suggesting that the illness was not caused by the food served in the canteen that day.

Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams said that while the school remained open, the Public Health Department, in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Health and other government entities, would continue its investigation and actively monitor the situation.

Officials also said that they are still waiting for conclusive results as to the cause of the illness, but the Public Health Department was confident that the kitchen facilities have now been adequately sanitized, following a thorough cleaning of the kitchen and equipment, a post-clean-up sampling, and a number of site visits by officials from the Departments of Public Health and Environmental Health.

But he said that the kitchen would not be open until all the results are received and analysed. “We want to re-assure the public that the safety of our students and school staff is of paramount importance, he added. All conclusive findings will be made known to the public and we will remain vigilant,” Dr Williams said.

Collins also said that all tests done on the seven Mise En Place staff members posted in the canteen came back negative for any staphylococcus, the bacteria most commonly found to cause infection through food handlers.

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (12)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Spot on – it just needs one food handler to pass it on and this is exactly what you get. Testing the food won’t show it because the contamination could be anywhere in the serving process.

  2. Rhett says:

    Norovirus as in outbreaks on Cruiseships?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I blame God.

  4. Sam says:

    There must be the reason. Look into chemical poisoning as well.

  5. Sam says:

    Why did they test food samples instead of poop samples?

  6. What If says:

    Was carbon monoxide poisoning considered. It’s odorless. If there was a cooker or some other item in the eating area releasing monoxide it may have caused the illness. Vomiting is not just food induced.

  7. Hawksbill says:

    Yes, the canteen workers may be free of that ONE bacterium, however, they would have eaten after seeing countless children vomit in the canteen over 2 lunch periods. Would YOU eat the same food as the kids if you saw them vomit after eating? MAYBE THEY USED THEIR COMMON SENSE AND ATE SOMETHING ELSE!

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      They served the Lighthouse kids as well, who had no symptoms (passing over the fact that the vomiting etc started after lunch).

  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh they know, this is Cayman, they will cover it up.

  9. Anonymous says:

    There has to be a reason and explanation. While this is most likely not the result of any malicious intent, there has to be accountability of some sort as health and safety are at stake. Shrugging shoulders of the authorities and the service contractor is not good enough for our childrens’ (and their teachers’) health.

    Cayman Islands = the easiest place to sweep stuff under the rug!

  10. Anonymous says:


    • Be quiet says:

      @2:22am. Why pathetic? Can you do better? Do you want them to just make up a source? Can you find the source?

      …I didn’t think so!

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