During the early spring of this year, an outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis infections resulted in 196 reported ill persons, 24 of which required hospitalization. The illnesses were associated with the consumption of cannolis and cassata cake from Black Forest Cakes and Pastries.
Laboratory investigation showed that 46 stool cultures tested positive for Salmonella enteritidis as did 4 leftover food samples. The report concluded that Black Forest Cakes and Pastries were the source of the Salmonella enteritidis outbreak.
How the bacteria were introduced into the bakery could not be determined. Once introduced, improper sanitation, food storage and preparation practices were the most likely causes for the dissemination of the bacteria in the facility and the subsequent outbreak of illnesses.
The "Environmental Assessment" published by the Michigan Department of Agriculture documented serious concerns about Black Forest’s sanitation practices:
- Lack of sanitizing of equipment, utensils, and food contact surfaces,
- Drying surfaces and utensils with shared towels, and
- Inadequate emphasis on frequent and effective hand washing.
The assessment also found fault in Black Forest’s ability to properly cool the cannoli filling as a way to reduce bacterial growth.