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Bad batch of fish: Sushi removed from U.C.

Kathleen Rohde

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Lunch went awry on Monday, Sept. 26 for ARAMARK at the University Center. Given the illnesses that occurred from tainted sushi, AFC Franchise Corp. will no longer serve sushi to the Pacific community.

“In the foreseeable future the university will not be serving any sushi products in any of its food service locations,” said Director of Media Relations Joe Lang in an email on behalf of Pacific University Food Services Director Bethany Bigelow, Pacific University and ARAMARK.

According to Lang, a “very small number” of students reported symptoms of rash, headache and nausea. These symptoms are usually related to food-borne illnesses. A physician at the Forest Grove Hospital linked the sushi to students’ sudden sicknesses occurring shortly after lunchtime.

The cause of the illnesses was determined to be scombroid toxicity, or scombroid fish poisoning. Scrombroid toxicity is an illness caused by consumption of bacteria found in the fish. Epidemiological data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that scrombroid poisoning is the most common type of food-borne disease found in the United States. Symptoms of scrombroid fish poisoning can affect an individual within 10 minutes of consumption.

After the physician’s diagnoses, ARAMARK directed the RFoC and Boxer Bistro to remove all AFC sushi products.

At 4:03 p.m. Boxer Alerts sent an email warning those signed up for the alerts to head to the nearest emergency room if experiencing symptoms. The symptoms in the email included “feeling flushed, experiencing palpitations, headache, numbness, burning sensations in mouth, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, swelling of tongue and respiratory stress.” The email stated for individuals experiencing

more severe symptoms to “dial 911” immediately.

In a text message sent at 4:11 p.m. Boxer Alerts offered the number for the Forest Grove Emergency Room if students were experiencing “respiratory swelling, numbness, or mouth swelling.”

Also on Monday, two inspectors were sent by the Washington County Department of Health to the Pacific University Student Health Center. The inspectors investigated the situation by assessing the RFoC facilities and the food preparation practices and procedures of both ARAMARK in RFoC and that of the AFC vendor. The investigation is still in pursuit at the time of publication.

“We continue to cooperate fully with the county health department as part of the investigation,” said Lang.

According to Bigelow, Director of the Pacific University Student Health Center Kathryn Eisenbarth “wishes to not respond at this time.”

Lang said in an email, “The university is committed to ensuring that the highest safety standards are followed in the production and distribution of all food and beverage products. The safety and well-being of all university community members and the general public is, and continues to be, of paramount importance.”

If you or someone you know bought sushi from the U.C. on Monday, Boxer Alerts has advised to throw out any unconsumed products.

If mistakenly consumed and symptoms are present, Boxer Alerts advised individuals to seek emergency medical care and report personal symptoms to the health center at 503-352-2269.

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