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Salmonella shuts local eatery

State Health Department officials said today that they are trying to determine the source of bacteria that has caused at least nine people to become ill with salmonella after eating at Cafe Santa Fe in Benton.

The restaurant will reopen after approval from the state Health Department to assure that no possible sources of contamination exist, reports the Courier. Raymond Heaggans, a Health Department environmental health specialist in food safety, said Sunday that no link has been established with particular food eaten at the restaurant.

Before reopening, Heaggans said, employees will undergo basic training on the proper way to handle food and prevent contamination.

Cafe Santa Fe, which features Southwest-style Mexican food, opened about six years ago and serves about 500 customers daily, Flores said. The eatery has won awards in the Benton Courier’s "Best of the Best" contest four years in a row, he noted.