Golden Corral Food Poisoning Has Customers Sick, Public Health Officials Questioning Company Policy

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By IB Times Staff Reporter | December 16, 2012 3:46 AM EST

Undercooked food and dirty silverware at a Golden Corral restaurant are being blamed for a major outbreak of food poisoning in Casper, Wyoming. The restaurant closed down voluntarily on Thursday and was expected to reopen after health officials approved the sanitary conditions that left at least 167 people with flu-like symptoms.

Angry customers took to the restaurant’s Yelp review page to describe how unsanitary the conditions had been, although it’s unclear why they even ate the food after noticing the problems.

“This was the worst experience I've had in Casper. The Bourbon Chicken gave me travelers dysentery, and I willingly eat street vendor food in Peru, Mexico and Nicaragua and have never gotten this sick. The point is, I know world class bad food and this is in the top 2 or 3 in el mundo!” wrote one reviewer. “I can't imagine the crew training they get there ... maybe it was everyone’s first night. So say grace and ask forgiveness before you go.”

Plenty of former customers agreed. Another reviewer, who posted his comments on Wed., Dec. 12, warned “Buyer beware” before going into further detail. “It's the stuff that Headlines are made of.
 The hospitals are busy from food poisoning and the (health board) is investigating. 
3 people missed work where I work and all ate at the (Golden Corral) on Sunday.”

Those affected by the Golden Corral food poisoning incident also spoke with the Star-Tribune, telling the newspaper that employees explained the conditions by chalking them up to a broken dishwasher. Silverware was reportedly covered in old food and plates seemed to be moved from a vacated table right back onto the buffet line.

Through it all the franchise president stressed food safety was a “top priority.” It doesn’t look like people affected by the norovirus epidemic are buying it, though, as Golden Corral’s insurance company is reportedly negotiating lawsuit settlements.  

K2 Radio in Wyoming reported that the latest outbreak is just another in a long line of health crises for the buffet chain. The chain has been forced to close locations in the past, and public health director Robert Harrington stressed the need for customers to think about what they’re eating. If it looks gross, don’t eat it.

“The state epidemiologist has produced some preliminary data that I’m not free to release because it’s for internal consumption only, but I can tell you it strengthens the association between the people that got ill and that particular restaurant,” Harrington said.

“This doesn’t completely indict the restaurant, but it does make a suggestive association.” 

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