Business

UPDATE: Boise Co-op deli back in business; management speaks about response to salmonella outbreak

The Boise Co-op deli reopened Friday after the Central District Health Department gave it go-ahead after an inspection of the Co-op’s updated facility, said CDHD spokeswoman Christine Myron.

The CDHD is reporting 250 cases of salmonella connected to the Co-op deli. That number could increase in the next couple of weeks, Myron said. People likely ate the contaminated food — including turkey, tomatoes and onions — between June 1 and 10, Myron said.

“Most of what we’ve been doing this week is trying to reach out to anyone who made purchases from our deli,” Mo Valko, marketing manager for the Boise Co-op, said Friday.

Co-op managers pulled data from point-of-sales and found more than 6,000 people who purchased food from the deli since May 29, Valko said. From that they were able to pull 5,400 addresses and 3,500 email addresses they could send mailers and emails to with information about the outbreak. Ultimately they sent emails to about 14,000 people, she said.

On Wednesday, the CDHD met with the Boise Co-op for a two-hour meeting to go over a risk-reduction plan, Myron said.

The Co-op installed two new sinks, reworking the food preparation flow and increasing employee training, Myron said.

“We made sure there is an even clearer separation from our protein preparation station and our produce preparation station,” Valko said.

Deli staff have been working through the closure to repeatedly sanitize the kitchen and prepare for a possible reopening Friday, Valko said.

“We’ll wait and see what CDHD says,” she said.

At least two people have come forward with lawsuits against the Co-op after contracting salmonella. Judy Fisher, of Ada County, filed a lawsuit Monday after eating a tuna sandwich from the Co-op, and later getting diagnosed with salmonella. Francisco Pantoja, of Payette County, filed a lawsuit Thursday after going to the emergency room with salmonella possibly linked to the deli, according to his lawyer.

Salmonella is spread via contaminated meat and produce and it causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and sometimes vomiting. The CDHD has been prioritizing contacting people with salmonella who indicated they work in food service or health care. People who tested positive for salmonella should test negative twice before returning to work in food service, child care or health care, Myron said.

Anyone with symptoms is urged to go to their health care provider and stay home to prevent infecting others. You can report your illness to CDHD.

NOT CLEAR IF MERIDIAN STORE FUNDRAISING AFFECTED

In the midst of the outbreak, the Co-op is moving ahead with seeking support for its Meridian branch.

Managers are prioritizing the salmonella outbreak, Valko said. But she did not say whether the outbreak is having an impact on fundraising for the new store at The Village in Meridian, set to open in October.

The Co-op recently sent a mailer to members requesting investments starting at a minimum of $1,000. According to the package, the Co-op is trying to raise $1 million by July 11 to fund equipment purchases for the new store.

“We are confident there are many Co-owners ready to invest in the future of the Boise Co-op and we hope you are one of them. The minimum investment amount is $1,000, but in order for us to meet our target average investment of $4,800, we will need some Co-owners to invest $10,000, $20,000 and even more,” states a pitch signed by Tara Stevens, president of the co-op’s board of directors , and Ben Kuzma, general manager.

Promissory notes for current co-owners will be available between June 1 and July 11. The Co-op materials state they will offer returns on investments at interest rates from 2.5 to 3.25 percent, with maturity terms from 4 to 7 years.

  Comments