McDonald’s Probe Continues After Illnesses Reported

The McDonald’s Restaurant located at 2803 N. Main St. Ext. just outside Jamestown city limits. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

A local fast-food restaurant has temporarily closed after almost two dozen people reported feeling sick after eating food from the location.

The New York State Department of Health announced Thursday it was working with the county to investigate multiple reports of illness associated with the McDonald’s located at 2803 N. Main St. Ext. just outside the Jamestown city limits. The location will close for a “thorough cleaning of the food preparation area and all equipment,” the health departments said in a joint statement.

In total, 22 people reported common symptoms of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea after eating at the restaurant between August 4-21. Through interviews conducted with 15 patients, all reported eating various breakfast sandwiches at the North Main Street Extension location. Additionally, patient samples as well as breakfast sandwiches prepared at the McDonald’s were sent to the Wadsworth Center, New York state’s Public Health Laboratory in Albany, for testing.

According to Christine Schuyler, county Public Health Director, although additional tests are pending, “preliminary testing has come back negative.”

“We are working diligently with the state Health Department and McDonald’s representatives to conduct a thorough epidemiological investigation into these illnesses,” Schuyler said. “There is currently no identified source of these illnesses and there is no evidence that the illness can be spread from person to person.”

According to Mark Stow, county Director of Environmental Health, the closing of the McDonald’s was voluntary at the behest of state and county health officials. He said no other local restaurants reported sick patrons recently.

“We are confident in saying no other locations were involved,” Stow said.

Health officials said the restaurant’s owner is “fully cooperating” with the investigation and is readily following all recommendations.

Among items that will be addressed are “reviewing the food preparation and distribution process in conjunction with county staff, obtaining a fresh supply of ingredients prior to restarting food production and conducting a follow up meeting with the Chautauqua County Health Department to ensure all recommendations were appropriately met,” the county said in a statement.

Any individual who may have visited the McDonald’s and experienced vomiting and/or diarrhea shortly after eating at the McDonald’s between Aug. 4 to Thursday can contact the Chautauqua County Health Department at 753-4483 or CCHEALTH@co.Chautauqua.ny.us.

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