Kumo Japanese steakhouse under investigation as 28 cases of food poisoning emerge

Kumo Japanese Steakhouse Under Investigation Following Reports of Food Poisoning (Image via Unsplash / Bruno Martins)
Kumo Japanese Steakhouse under investigation following reports of food poisoning (Image via Unsplash/Bruno Martins)

Kumo Japanese Steakhouse in Stony Brook is under investigation after a reported 28 cases of food poisoning were linked to the establishment.

The Suffolk Department of Health Services suspects that the outbreak may be connected to mishandled and improperly stored cooked rice served at the restaurant located on Nesconset Highway.

Authorities were alerted to the situation on Saturday afternoon via multiple 911 calls reporting illnesses occurring at Kumo Japanese Steakhouse. Of the 28 individuals affected, 12 were quickly transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment. Thankfully, all 12 were discharged shortly after their arrival.

The Suffolk County Health Department has attributed the outbreak to the mishandling and improper storage of cooked rice at the restaurant. In fact, out of the 15 violations identified during the inspection of Kumo Japanese Steakhouse, eight were specifically related to risk factors for foodborne illnesses.

Investigation identifies improperly stored cooked rice as potential source of food poisoning

Twenty-eight cases of food poisoning were reported. (Image via Unsplash/Sasun Bughdaryan)
Twenty-eight cases of food poisoning were reported. (Image via Unsplash/Sasun Bughdaryan)

Some witnesses on the scene reported people vomiting, further validating concerns of food poisoning.

That led health officials to investigate further and consider the possibility of Bacillus cereus contamination. Unknown to many, improperly stored cooked rice can serve as a breeding ground for Bacillus cereus bacteria.

Uncooked rice often naturally contains Bacillus cereus, which can form protective spores that survive the cooking process. However, if cooked rice is cooled slowly and left at temperatures between 5-60 degrees Centigrade for extended periods, these spores can germinate, grow and produce a toxin that results in vomiting.

Bacillus cereus is a common but harmful bacterium

Common bacteria but dangerous (Image via Unsplash/Adrian Lange)
Common bacteria but dangerous (Image via Unsplash/Adrian Lange)

Bacillus cereus is a gram-positive bacterium commonly found in soil, vegetation and various food items.

While it typically causes gastrointestinal illnesses characterized by symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, it can also lead to severe infections in individuals with weakened immune systems.

In such cases, the bacterium can cause septicemia (bloodstream infection) or endophthalmitis, a serious eye infection that can result in vision loss.

Food poisoning symptoms - Abdominal pain and diarrhea (Image via Unsplash/CDC)
Food poisoning symptoms - Abdominal pain and diarrhea (Image via Unsplash/CDC)

There are two types of illnesses associated with the consumption of foods contaminated with Bacillus cereus.

The more well-known type presents with abdominal pain and non-bloody diarrhea and has an incubation period of 4 to 16 hours, with symptoms lasting for around 12 to 24 hours.

The second type, characterized by acute nausea and vomiting, occurs within one to five hours after consuming contaminated food, with diarrhea being less common.

The Kumo Japanese Steakhouse has faced scrutiny due to this outbreak, but the restaurant is cooperating with health officials during the investigation.

It remains unclear how long the investigation will take, but the focus is on identifying the exact source of the contamination and implementing measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Mishandling and improper storage not only pose a significant risk to the health and well-being of customers but can also severely impact the reputation and business of the establishment itself.

As the investigation continues, patrons are reminded to report any potential cases of food poisoning to the appropriate authorities.

Edited by Bhargav