A "food source" sickened nearly 100 restaurant patrons in Philadelphia last month, but city and state health officials say Pennsylvania law bars them from disclosing what the food was or how it was contaminated.
Philly.com reported Friday that dozens of lawyers and law students became sick after a Feb. 27 feast at Joy Tsin Lau in the city's Chinatown. Some said they were bedridden and others had to seek medical attention after becoming sick, but the owner said her restaurant didn't cause it.
"It was not a problem with my restaurant," Chi Mabel Chan said. "Maybe they got cold or drank too much."
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A "food source" was identified as the root of the outbreak, but city Health Department spokesman Jeff Moran declined to explain what the food was or how it was contaminated, citing state law that bars them from disclosing findings of outbreak investigations.
Wes Culp, a spokesman for the state Department of Health, said the law prohibits authorities from disclosing reports of "diseases or any records maintained as a result of any actions taken in consequence of those reports."
"We do not disclose information related to an investigation unless there is a public health purpose to sharing the information," Culp said in an email.
In a report two weeks prior to the outbreak, a city Health Department employee cited the restaurant for multiple violations, including a lack of soap and paper towels in the employee restroom, which was noted as a repeat violation.