Watermelon linked to E. Coli outbreak
8/01/2000- According to a July 31 Associated Press
report, contaminated watermelon may have
caused some of the more than 40 cases of
food poisoning linked to a Sizzler restaurant,
the Milwaukee health commissioner said Monday.
Restaurant customers who ate watermelon were
eight times more likely to be sick that those
who did not, Health Commissioner Seth L.
Foldy said. At least 42 people became ill
in July from E. coli bacteria that health
officials have traced to the Sizzler restaurant
on Milwaukee's southside. One child, a 3-year-old
girl, died. Another victim has filed a lawsuit.
Foldy said health officials are not blaming
the watermelon for making people sick, but
rather bacteria that may have been transferred
to the melon. That means the bacteria on
the outside of the melon could have been
transferred to the inside when it was cut,
he said. The bacteria was present for more
than a day because people were contaminated
on different days, Foldy said. Tests of items
from the restaurant found a raw beef product
that tested positive for E. coli. The Sizzler
has been closed since Wednesday.