Restaurant reopens after customers get sick

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by Crystal Cruz

azfamily.com

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 6 at 3:48 PM

LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. -- Customers are once again eating at Federico’s Mexican Food restaurant near Litchfield Park.

Manager Jesse Acosta is very happy to be open again.

“We had a lot of customers come in here and give me hugs and brought a lot of tears and very emotional thing for everybody,” said Acosta.

On Friday, Acosta and his employees voluntarily threw away $10,000 worth of food, possibly tainted with E-coli.

The store also voluntarily closed its doors.

According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, more than 30 people complained of bloody diarrhea following a visit to the restaurant on or after July 23.

Twelve people were hospitalized.

County health officials are interviewing the customers who got sick to find out exactly what they ate from Federico’s.

3TV walked into Federico's as a county health inspector was walking out of the restaurant on Monday.

We're told it's in compliance and it is okay for management to reopen.

“Just so you know we've purged this restaurant and it's as clean as it's ever going to be. It’s like brand new again,” said Acosta.

Health officials are still investigating if the food was contaminated with E-coli.  
 
“At this point I don't think the investigation has determined that this is completely linked to the establishment,” said Johnny Dilone with Maricopa County Environmental Services.
 
It will be days or weeks before the county test results are available to the public.
 
Acosta wants people to remember this was an isolated incident affecting just the Litchfield store, not the 25 others across the Valley.
 
“We hope that we can put this in the past or what we know in the past,” said Acosta. “We hope that everyone can understand that we are doing everything in our possible position to make this right again.”

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