Testing is taking place on all employees at two Boston restaurants as health officials try to figure out if one of the workers may be the cause of the salmonella outbreak that has sickened eight people.
"It's definitely worrisome," said Leigh Bentson, who has eaten at both Café Med and Back Bay Sandwich. "Especially when you're someone like me who cares a lot about health and fitness. It's just not safe, so I’m definitely going to stop eating there."
Health officials say the common link in each of the eight cases is the two restaurants that are both in the same office building in the Back Bay.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Four people got sick after eating at Café Med, two after eating at Back Bay Sandwich, and two other customers ate at both, according to the Boston Public Health Commission.
"Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, and salmonella is one of them, the cause of it could have nothing to do with the restaurant," said Commissioner William Christopher of Boston Inspectional Services. "It could be even brought in on a product."
Inspectors found numerous code violations at both eateries, prompting the city to shut down the businesses temporarily.
"We have always addressed primary inspection violations, and always passed the follow-up inspection," the owner of Back Bay Sandwich said in a statement. "We have always prided ourselves on the cleanliness of the business, and I look forward to working with the city to improve on all aspects."
Despite being in the same building, both restaurants have separate staffs and kitchens.
So far, the source of the outbreak is unknown.
"I wouldn't have a problem going back," said customer Connor Dwyer. "I trust them just the same."
The owners of Café Med have not returned multiple calls.
City inspectors are not sure when the restaurants can reopen.
Once testing is complete, there will be a formal hearing where expectations will be outlined for the restaurant owners, according to Christopher.
Both restaurants will then have to be inspected.