Rhode Island Bakery Salmonella Food Poisoning Outbreak Linked to Death

One man has died and at least 39 others have been sickened in a salmonella food poisoning outbreak that Rhode Island health officials believe originated with contaminated pastries sold by a local bakery. 

On March 25, the Rhode Island Department of Health announced a DeFusco’s Bakery zeppoles recall. Officials say the pastry shells used to make the zeppoles were stored in egg crates and most likely came into contact with raw eggs. DeFusco’s has voluntarily shut down for the time being, but it had already sold its zeppoles to other bakeries.

On Tuesday, state health officials said that a man in his 80s died on March 23, after testing positive for the same strain of salmonella that has sickened others who ate DeFusco’s pastries. At least 24 of those people have been hospitalized. State officials are still investigating whether the man who died ate contaminated zeppoles.

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Besides being sold at all DeFusco’s stores, the contaminated zeppoles were also sold to American Bakery Supplies, a West Warwick-based distributor. American Bakery Supplies sold the pastries to Roch’s Market in West Warwick; Meal Works in Coventry and Touch of Class Catering in West Warwick. DeFusco’s zeppoles were also sold at Crugnale Bakery, Colvitto’s Bistro, Sal’s Bakery, and Focaccia World.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe food poisoning. For most healthy adults, symptoms of food poisoning from salmonella typically resolve after a few days or weeks. However, young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems have an increased risk of suffering severe food poisoning after ingesting the bacteria. If not properly treated, some cases of salmonella food poisoning can lead to hospitalization, dehydration or death.

Rhode Island health department officials are advising consumers to discard all baked goods from DeFusco’s, and all zeppoles from the above locations. Anyone who has eaten one of the zeppoles or pastry from DeFusco’s and gotten sick should see their healthcare provider immediately and consult with a qualified food poisoning lawyer.

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