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Bad spaghetti blamed in Waipahu Elementary food-poisoning

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:17 a.m. HST, Dec 17, 2013

A food-poisoning outbreak at Waipahu Elementary School in which more than 30 children and two adults fell ill was caused by bacteria growth in spaghetti, state officials said Monday afternoon.

Laboratory test results and a health inspection report concluded that a portion of spaghetti served in the school cafeteria during lunch on Dec. 10 contained bacteria that resulted from improper food preparation, according to a news release jointly issued by the state's Department of Health and Department of Education. 

An inspection conducted by the Health Department found cafeteria food prepared the previous day had not been properly re-heated in the morning and may not have been properly cooled the day before, creating an environment for bacteria growth.

Peter Oshiro, DOH sanitation branch chief said in the release: "An inspection and interviews with cafeteria employees revealed food preparation violations that could be corrected with proper training and follow through." Oshiro added that the cafeteria is now closed while staff undergo retraining. 

Waipahu Elementary School Principal Gary Chun said in the release: "While this was an isolated incident, our staff has and continues to fully cooperate with health officials in ensuring best practices. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our school community and remain committed to proper meal preparation."

During the health investigation, meals were brought in to Waipahu Elementary from a neighboring school. Deliveries will continue this week until the school's cafeteria crew completes health safety training.

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