E. coli cases prompt closure of diner
Sekiya's Restaurant and Delicatessen has closed temporarily since the state Health Department suspended its permit Saturday because of seven illnesses from E. coli bacteria.
Health officials met yesterday with owners and management of the popular Kapahulu eatery to ensure steps are being taken to prevent any further illnesses, according to a Health Department news release.
The Health Department confirmed six related cases of illness caused by the bacteria in December, and one case in February. All individuals affected have recovered, the news release said.
E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration.
The investigation found all seven persons had eaten food prepared at Sekiya's, 2746 Kaimuki Ave., the news release said.
Health Department workers inspected the restaurant and worked with management "to eliminate practices that may have contributed to the illnesses," the department said.
The restaurant owners and management have been cooperating, and the establishment will remain closed until it completes an intensive plan to prevent future problems.
The department conducted follow-up investigations within three days of the initial investigation and found all major violations had been corrected.
Samples were collected, tested and found to be negative for E. coli and other disease-causing bacteria, the Health Department said.
All major health code concerns had been corrected before the restaurant had been shut down Saturday.
But the recurrence of illness due to E. coli more than five weeks after the first six cases led health officials to believe the bacteria could still be present in the restaurant.
The restaurant has been temporarily shut down while more extensive maintenance is conducted, including removal of all food products and supplies; complete disinfection and cleaning of the entire restaurant; management's and employees' attendance of a comprehensive course on food safety; and owner development of managerial controls to ensure the health code is followed.
Sekiya's permit will be reinstated once the Health Department can verify that the restaurant is effectively following the special remedial measures, the department said.