149 children become sick after eating food from South Florida caterer

Florida Department of Health says meals made at Healthy Children Catering

By Jeff Weinsier - Investigative Reporter

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - A total of 149 children got severely sick after eating food from a South Florida caterer, according to a report from the Florida Department of Health.

The report said 117 children from eight Miami-Dade County day care centers and 32 children from two Broward County day care centers became sick on or around Nov. 7, 2016.

The meals were made at Healthy Children Catering in Hialeah.

The state report said samples of the food were sent to a state lab in Jacksonville.

"The outbreak was caused by staphyloccal food poisoning (SFP)," the report said.

The Florida Department of Health said the bacteria were found in ham and turkey.

Twenty-one children got sick Nov. 7 at the Ave Marie Friends Preparatory School in Lauderhill. Nineteen children were taken to a hospital emergency room by fire-rescue.

Eleven children from Kidstown Early Learning Center in Fort Lauderdale also got sick.

The Miami-Dade County day care centers and schools were not named in the report.

SFP is caused when a food handler contaminates food or when it is not properly refrigerated.

According to state records, inspectors with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation have been back to Healthy Children Catering seven times since the outbreak was reported.

A stop-sale order was issued last month on ham, roast beef and Italian sandwiches because they were not being held at the correct temperature. "Food not wholesome or in sound condition," an inspector wrote.

"We have had very good inspections," said a man who escorted Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier out of the facility.

Healthy Children Catering is open for business.

Both Ave Maria and Kidstown have changed caterers.

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