Tuesday, November 18, 2008

IHOP, Syrup and Salmonella

On a recent visit to The International House of Pancakes (IHOP), I was confused when our waitress brought the maple syrup for our pancakes in 2 Styrofoam soup bowls.

As you may know, the 4 flavored syrups are always on the table at IHOP, but the warm, 'maple' syrup is brought with your meal (if it includes pancakes).

Normally, of course, the warm maple syrup is brought to the table in small, clear, glass containers with a handle and a spout.

So as our waitress set the Styrofoam bowls (dangerously full of syrup) on the table, I had to ask. Actually, I assumed it would have something to do with a deliquent dishwasher and an excessive number of broken or dirty dispensers.

But no, her response was... "oh yeah, it's 'cause of that salmonella outbreak up in Oklahoma."

I knew better than to press for more details. I'd do a little research later.

It turns out the IHOP syrup salmonella problem was here in Texas (not up in Oklahoma).

An IHOP in Amarillo has had 3 outbreaks of Salmonella recently and the latest (in October) was found to be related to the hot water bath the syrup dispensers received.

3 people were hospitalized and 34 were infected.

You can read more at the Amarillo Globe-News.

The article mentions that the warm water bath practice would be stopped at both this owners Amarillo IHOP locations, but evidently other IHOPs, as far away as Fort Worth, are also changing their procedures.

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