Local restaurant chain has 2 Boston locations shut down amid investigation into Salmonella outbreak

BOSTON — A local restaurant chain had two of its Boston locations temporarily shut down by the city after inspections revealed a slew of health violations, including unsanitary working conditions that appear to be linked to a Salmonella outbreak in the area, officials said Friday.

Los Amigos Taqueria at 366 Washington Street in Brighton had its license to operate suspended following an inspection on Thursday, according to the city.

An ISD report published on the “Mayors Food Court” page states, “There are multiple reports of a foodborne illness from items consumed at this location.”

“All food items have been embargoed. Owner has been instructed not to handle any food items at this time without approval from the Health Division,” inspectors wrote in the report.

In a statement, a Boston Public Health Commission spokesperson said, “The Boston Public Health Commission, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Boston Inspectional Services Department are investigating an emerging Salmonella outbreak linked to Los Amigos Taqueria restaurant in Brighton, affecting residents in the Brighton, Boston, and Greater Boston area.”

An inspection of interior walls and ceilings in one of the restaurant’s walk-in units also revealed “visible soils and a mold-like substance,” the report stated. Multiple wire rack shelving units also had visible rust.

The eatery was docked for having no sanitizer at work and prep stations and inspectors also ordered Los Amigos to clean the interiors of the chest freezers to remove excess ice buildup.

The “certified food managers” certificate in the restaurant was also said to be expired.

“We encourage residents who visited the Brighton location between May 12 and May 18 to monitor themselves for symptoms of Salmonella infection, including fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, and to contact a healthcare provider for an evaluation and testing if appropriate,” the BPHC added.

Los Amigos’ second Boston location, 1741 Centre Street in West Roxbury, also had its license to operate suspended following an inspection on Friday.

This location had no “verifiable evidence of illness policy training,” no one was monitoring food temperatures for cooking, spatulas were being stored in stagnant water, onions and salsa verde were stored on the floor, and there were no thermometers in cold holding units in front and at grill drawers, according to inspectors.

The city said that “multiple rodent droppings” were also found on pineapple cans, bags of pinto beans, single-use beverage holders, and storage tables.

Los Amigos also has locations in Brookline, Newton, and Somerville.

The Newton location currently remains open and is not impacted by the foodborne illness reports, Boston 25 learned.

Boston 25 has reached out to the restaurant chain for comment, as well as health officials in Brookline and Somerville.

Below is a list of key facts about Salmonella:

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella are germs (bacteria) that cause an infectious disease (called “salmonellosis”) of the bowel in humans and animals. Although the disease is usually limited to the bowel, and most infected people do not have any serious medical complications, the salmonella germ can spread to other systems of the body, such as the blood and bone. This may cause serious complications in infants and in people who are very old or are immunocompromised.

What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?

The most common symptoms are stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. Symptoms most often begin 12 to 72 hours after the germs are swallowed. Symptoms generally last for several days. Some people with salmonellosis become sick enough to require hospitalization.

How is Salmonella spread?

The germs must be swallowed to cause disease. Usually, this happens when someone eats food that has been contaminated with germs and has not been properly handled, prepared, or cooked. The germs can also spread when people do not wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the toilet, changing diapers, or handling reptiles. People who get the germs on their hands can infect themselves by eating, smoking, or touching their mouths. They can also spread the germs to anyone or anything they touch, especially food, which can then make others sick if not cooked enough to kill the germs. Salmonella is commonly spread from person to person in daycare centers and other environments where hygiene may be poor.

What types of food are most likely to spread Salmonella?

Salmonella germs are common in uncooked food products from animals, such as eggs, egg products, meat, meat products, poultry, unpasteurized milk, and other unpasteurized dairy products. However, thorough cooking and processing will kill the germ. Salmonella can be in any type of food if salmonella germs get on the food. A food handler with salmonella may get germs on the food if his or her hands are not washed thoroughly before preparing food.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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