On the Border ready to serve customers

Restaurant reopens today after salmonella outbreak

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

Published:

 

Seven days after health officials closed an east Vancouver restaurant at the center of a salmonella outbreak, On the Border is set to reopen this afternoon.

Clark County Public Health on Sunday lifted the restaurant closure. Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer, said health officials believe the restaurant no longer poses as a risk to the public. All restaurant surfaces and equipment have been inspected, cleaned and sanitized; all potentially contaminated foods have been removed; and all employees who tested negative for salmonella have been cleared to return to work, Melnick said.

The restaurant, 1506 S.E. 164th Ave., will reopen at 4 p.m.

“At On the Border, we take the health and safety of our guests and employees very seriously,” said Tony Wehner, senior vice president of operations, in a news release. “We worked closely and cooperatively with the Clark County Public Health department throughout this unfortunate and isolated situation.”

“We look forward to serving our customers and the community when we reopen at 4 p.m. on Monday,” he continued.

Health officials report 23 confirmed and 54 probable cases of salmonella linked to the outbreak. The cases involve mostly adult customers who visited the restaurant between Sept. 20 and Oct. 8. Of the four people who were hospitalized, three have been released.

Five restaurant food handlers and at least one child were among those who tested positive for salmonella. The food handlers must test negative for salmonella on two separate tests 24-hours apart before being cleared to return to work, Melnick said.

The source of the outbreak has yet to be determined.

Wehner said all On the Border restaurants maintain high standards for health and safety operations. The past seven health inspections at the Vancouver location, one of 160 restaurants in the franchise, have produced five perfect scores and two inspections with only 5-point deductions.

On the Border’s most recent inspection, on May 23, earned the restaurant a 5-point deduction for improper maintenance, cleaning or sanitizing of food surfaces, according to health department records. Before that, the Feb. 17 inspection resulted in a perfect score.

Marissa Harshman: 360-735-4546; http://twitter.com/col_health; http://facebook.com/reporterharshman; marissa.harshman@columbian.com.