Monday, 06.15.09

Report: Weston club told to toss food after dentist's death

Source of Article:  http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking-news/story/1098363.html

BY BOB LaMENDOLA

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Weston Hills Country Club had to discard chicken, hamburger, beef and hot dogs because inspectors investigating a possible food poisoning death found a cooler was malfunctioning, according to a state report obtained Monday.

The inspection last week found that the foods stored in the cooler were, for at least 12 hours, allowed to be warmer than the 41 degrees required by safe-food laws, the report by restaurant inspectors from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation said. The ground beef was at 63 degrees.

State officials are investigating if Plantation dentist Edward Nacht died as a result of food poisoning from a chicken lunch at the country club on June 3, as his family suspects. It's unclear if the cooler was malfunctioning on the day Nacht got sick.

Nacht died June 8 from a massive bacterial infection, an illness that struck a few hours after he and three friends ate lunch in the club restaurant following a round of golf, said Dr. Jason Hirsh, Nacht's son-in-law and dental partner.

The other three men also ate chicken dishes, and all got sick that night before recovering, Hirsh said. Nacht, 65, was healthy and active, had no other illnesses and shared no other food or drinks with the three men, Hirsh said.

Hirsh filed a complaint that sparked the investigation by restaurant regulators and the Broward County Health Department. The inquiry has reached no conclusion so far, department officials said.

The country club has issued a statement saying the food was not to blame, noting that no other customers who ate chicken the same day got sick.

''It appears likely that the illnesses being reported are due to a virus and are not food-borne in nature. This would explain why numerous members and guests who ate the same food on the same day did not become ill,'' the statement said.

The state inspection of the restaurant Wednesday found 16 critical violations. These include food not kept cold enough, raw foods touching, improper hand-washing, leaking coolers and a slimy ice machine, according to the report. A dishwasher was malfunctioning that day, as well.

Inspectors had found similar violations at the club during a routine April inspection, records show.

''All four eat together, everyone gets sick,'' Hirsh said. ``I asked for an investigation because something wasn't kosher.''

 

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