‘Leftovers’ Could Hold Clues To Possible Illness Outbreak In Muskegon

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MUSKEGON, Mich. (April 9, 2014) – Is there something bad in the food?

It’s a question health officials are trying to answer Bonicki’s Bistro in Muskegon County after several customers claimed they got sick after eating there.

This is the third time we’ve seen this kind of investigation in West Michigan is the last few weeks. Bonicki’s is the third restaurant to go under the microscope for a possible illness outbreak.  In Ottawa County more than 100 people said they were sick after eating at ‘Wild Chef’.  The culprit there was said to be norovirus. The same virus is being blamed for an outbreak in which dozens of customers complained about getting sick after eating at the Beltline Bar in Kent County.

Jill Keast with the Muskegon County Health Department said there is no reason to think the other two outbreaks are connected to the investigation in Muskegon County.

Bonicki’s Bistro is on East Apple Avenue and remains open during the investigation.  Health investigators on Wednesday said the restaurant passed inspections no red flags.

The investigation was prompted when seven customers told the health department they got sick after eating at Bonicki’s in April. The individuals had at least two things in common: they all ate at Bonicki’s between April 3 and April 6, and, according to Keast, all seven complained of diarrhea.

A manager at Bonicki’s said Wednesday night that the first complaint came directly to Bonicki’s, and the restaurant contacted the health department. “They are working with us very closely on this case,” Keast said.  “They are just as concerned as we are.”

A team of inspectors was sent to Bonicki’s on Wednesday. “Everything is on the up-and-up,” said Keast.  “They are doing well, following the rules as they should be.”

This case offers a rare opportunity to possibly pinpoint a cause, because leftovers from the restaurant meal were found in the fridge of a complaining customer, said Keast. That food was sent to the Michigan Department of Community Health Lab for testing.

As for norovirus, the health department is not jumping to conclusions “We are not going to totally rule that out,” Keast said, “but at this point, that is not even something that we are looking into.”

Keast said if anyone ate at Bonicki’s Bistro between April 3 and April 6 and felt ill afterward, they should contact the Muskegon County Health Department at (231) 724-4406, visit the website,, or take a survey about this outbreak.

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