By Norman Parish
Of the Post-Dispatch
Thursday, Jun. 16 2005
An East Alton restaurant plans to reopen today after being closed for two weeks
because of an outbreak of salmonella poisoning.
The Casa Romero Restaurant, 521 East Airline Drive, closed June 3 after
customers became ill after eating food tainted with salmonella bacteria dating
to May 21.
Twenty-seven people got sick. An undetermined number of customers were
hospitalized, Madison County Health officials said.
Four restaurant employees were among those who became ill, restaurant officials said. Officials believed the workers also ate at the restaurant.
Overall, there are 15 employees who work at the restaurant, said Juan Romero,
who served as a spokesman for his uncle, Filemon Romero, the restaurant’s
“(The owner) really feels pretty bad for the customers who got sick,” Juan
Romero said. “The customers have been real good to us in past.”
Romero said the owner also was unhappy about the amount of money his business
lost because it was closed.
The restaurant lost about $50,000 because of the closure and expenses for new
food and equipment, Romero said.
Romero said the restaurant got rid of existing food and food items and cleaned
parts of the restaurant with hot water and bleach.
The bacteria probably was not spread from a vendor who supplied the food, said
Toni Corona, the county’s public health administrator.
But officials still are unsure how the problem occurred, Corona said.
The restaurant hasn’t had any similar problems in the past, county officials
People can get salmonella after eating food contaminated with the bacteria or
eating food that was handled by someone who had contact with it.
People infected with salmonella can suffer headaches, muscle aches, diarrhea,
vomiting, fever, nausea and dehydration. Illness can last one day to nearly two
To prevent the spread of salmonella bacteria, county officials said people
should thoroughly cook food products, avoid cross-contamination and wash hands before handling food or after using the bathroom.
Reporter Norm Parish