Reporting Lauren Leamanczyk
CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – A local restaurant and food truck chain has temporarily closed its doors because of concerns over a salmonella outbreak.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirms that 12 people have become sick from an outbreak of food borne salmonella. Several of those patrons had eaten at various Clover Food Lab locations. Clover Food Lab operates four restaurants and seven food trucks in the Boston and Cambridge areas.
Owner Ayr Muir made the decision to voluntarily shut down Friday night after he was contacted by the DPH. “They suggested we might consider something like this for a few of the units, but I decided every single restaurant would be shut down. I didn’t see why we would do anything risky before we know more,” Muir told WBZ-TV.
The DPH has not named a source of the outbreak. There is no definitive link between Clover and the salmonella. Still, Muir says he is not taking any chances.
The restaurants are shut down indefinitely and the 128 employees are not working. Muir says in the meantime they are checking with vendors and testing food workers for illness. “We won’t open until we’re really confident everything’s perfect for people,” Muir says.
The closure costs the company an estimated $20,000 each day, Muir estimates.
At the Harvard Square locations, workers could be seen inside cleaning. At Dewey Square, the Clover food truck was missing Monday afternoon.
Regular customers were surprised at the news. Many said the vegetarian friendly chain was always clean and looked hygienic. Miriam Hiersteiner was pleased they decided to take extra precautions. “I think that’s pretty responsibly actually,” she said.
And while some customers expressed reservations about a food service company with links to illness, others say the pro-active measures may earn Clover new customers. Stephanie Davis says she is more likely to eat there “because they took the initiative rather than waiting to have to shut down by the food department.”
According to a DPW spokeswoman none of the people who reported being sick with salmonella had to be hospitalized. The Department issued a statement saying “The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working cooperatively with the City of Cambridge and other municipalities to investigate and identify the source of a recent Salmonella outbreak. At this point, twelve cases have been confirmed. The investigation is ongoing.”