Bill Takes Up Issue of Food-Borne Illness Reporting in Connecticut - NBC Connecticut

Bill Takes Up Issue of Food-Borne Illness Reporting in Connecticut

State legislators are considering a bill that would look into the way the public is notified of food-borne illness outbreaks in Connecticut, an issue that came to light following a Troubleshooters investigation last fall. (Published Wednesday, March 18, 2015)

State legislators are considering a bill that would look into the way the public is notified of food-borne illness outbreaks in Connecticut, an issue that came to light following a Troubleshooters investigation last fall.

State Sen. Terry Gerratana, co-chair of the legislature's public health committee, sponsored the bill, which would create a task force to research whether the state should change the way it handles these cases.

Mansfield residents Steven and Susan Herzog were among those attending a hearing on the bill Wednesday. The couple was featured in a Troubleshooters investigation last month.

They believe they contracted E. coli a year and a half ago after eating at a Willimantic restaurant. SUsan Herzog said she became deathly ill.

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While the Herzogs shared their medical information with health department investigators, they grew frustrated when they got few details in return.

"While DPH thoroughly investigated the Willimantic E Coli outbreak, six others were hospitalized, the results of the investigation were only published online in July, in a DPH publication with the names of the restaurants redacted," Steven Herzog said.

Many health investigators interpret current state laws to mean that almost no information can be released.

Some advocates of increased transparency have concerns the task force bill calls for too many bureaucrats and food industry members on the panel and too few food-borne illness victims.

Gerratana said all stakeholders will be fairly represented.

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