Sept. 29, 2002
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A pizzeria co-owner is disputing whether a salmonella outbreak that affected at least 25 people originated in a sink in her restaurant.
According to the Buffalo News, Blasdell Pizza & Subs was closed briefly by the Erie County Health Department on Sept. 19, but reopened the next day when it deemed the facility properly disinfected.
Ten of the 25 people who suffered digestive problems related to the suspected contamination were employees of the pizzeria.
Elizabeth Geary, one of the restaurant's owners, not only denied the contamination originated in her outlet, she said Health Department officials told her they couldn't determine where the problem originated.
"If they had found anything, they would have shut us down immediately," she said. The restaurant was closed for only about four hours to allow employees to be tested.
Geary said the negative publicity from the incident has hurt both the Blasdell restaurant and the company's other pizzeria in Hamburg, N.Y.
"We employ 70 local people -- mostly college students and single mothers who will be out of jobs if our business doesn't recover from this," she said.