The Maryland Department of Health is investigating a cluster of salmonella infections that have been linked to a local kabob chain restaurant.
Since Sept. 10, eight of the nine confirmed cases of salmonella infections reported eating hummus from Moby Dick House of Kabob, which has several locations in Maryland, Virginia and D.C.
Director of Environmental Health for the Maryland Health Department Dr. Clifford Mitchell said that the exact cause of the infection has not yet been determined. “We’ve got laboratory analyses to do. Our investigation is continuing.”
Mitchell said the health department wanted to get the word out to consumers, so if people had the hummus — which is sold retail through the restaurant — at home, “We wanted to make sure people knew not to consume it.”
Because the restaurant has other locations in the region, the Maryland Health Department has been in communication with D.C. and Virginia.
The chain has voluntarily stopped the sale of its hummus, and the Health Department said that consumers who bought hummus from any of the chain’s restaurants should discard it.
“The safety and health of our customers is our No.1 concern and utmost priority; we are working diligently to investigate and determine the root cause of this claim,” Moby Dick House of Kabob spokesman Alex Momeni said in a statement
Upon being notified by the Health Department on Sept. 24, Momeni said the restaurant moved to conduct its own independent testing and hired an outside food safety and environmental consultant to review the matter.
“Samples of our hummus were sent to an ISO Certified Food Testing facility earlier this week, and thankfully, the results of that testing have come back negative for the presence of any harmful pathogens,” Momeni said.
Momeni said that in an abundance of caution while waiting for official results from the Maryland Department of Health and learning more about the claim, the restaurant pulled all hummus from the menu and shelves, and it suspended its production during this time.
Anyone who is experiencing adverse medical symptoms should go to the doctor.
Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps within six hours or four days after the infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.
Babies, the elderly and those with impaired immune systems may experience severe illness and require hospitalization.
For more information about salmonella, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.