Kalamazoo Cracker Barrel closes permanently after salmonella outbreak investigation

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Cracker Barrel restaurant near I-94 and S. 9th Street is voluntarily closing its doors for good, following a salmonella outbreak investigation.

The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department (HCS), along with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), began investigating the location in June 2018 for health code violations and reports of food borne illnesses. HCS officials said the establishment voluntarily closed in June to begin facility renovations and worked with them to ensure all Michigan food law requirements were met before reopening.

On Tuesday, November 27, a salmonella diagnosis prompted a test by state officials, and on November 28, HCS received a letter from Cracker Barrel corporate indicating they would close the location permanently. HCS officials said the final voluntary closure was in response to environmental preliminary test results from Cracker Barrel’s private testing firm that indicated significant salmonella contamination was found. The state’s test results are expected next week.

A Cracker Barrel spokesperson said, “Cracker Barrel has been responsive and cooperative throughout the outbreak investigation. We continue to work with Cracker Barrel and their employees to ensure there are no health risks.”

Salmonella is a strain of bacteria that can make people sick.  A person can get salmonella infection from a variety of sources, including contaminated food or contaminated water, or from contact with infected animals or people, or failing to wash hands.

Most persons infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. However, it can take up to 16 days after the initial exposure to present symptoms. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most individuals recover without treatment. However, in some persons symptoms may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

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