In the wake of a City of Lubbock announcement that patrons of Cheddar’s Casual Café may have been exposed to hepatitis A, food safety experts at Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, are calling on restaurants such as Cheddar’s to require employees be vaccinated against the virus.

On September 13, the city announced that all patrons of Cheddar’s Casual Café on 4009 S. Loop 289 who dined at the restaurant between August 31 and September 8 were at risk for possible exposure to hepatitis A.  According to reports, a restaurant employee who worked in food preparation during that time period tested positive for the virus, which can be passed through contaminated food.

“From both a public health perspective and business perspective, it makes sense for restaurants to vaccinate their employees against hepatitis A,” said Marler Clark attorney William Marler. “It’s much simpler for a restaurant to pay for its couple dozen or so employees to be vaccinated, rather than wait for a mass scare involving hundreds, if not thousands of customers waiting in lines for hours to get inoculated against the virus.”

Currently the City of Lubbock is working to obtain hepatitis A vaccine or Immune globulin to be offered at designated vaccination clinics to anyone who dined at Cheddar’s from August 31 – September 8.  The city will hold a free hepatitis A immunization clinic at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, starting Friday September 15th through Monday, September 19th. The city’s estimated cost for the vaccine is approximately $256,000.

“The amount of business Cheddar’s and other restaurants lose in a situation like this can be devastating.  Worker vaccinations are not only an investment in employee and customer health, but the health of the business as well.”

Hepatitis A is a communicable disease that spreads from person-to-person. It is spread almost exclusively through fecal-oral contact, generally from person-to-person, or via contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is the only foodborne illness that is vaccine preventable.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since the inception of the vaccine, rates of infection have declined 92 percent. 

MARLER CLARK is the nation’s foremost law firm dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illness.  The firm’s attorneys have unmatched experience representing victims of hepatitis A and other food poisoning cases.  Marler Clark sponsors many informational sites about foodborne illness, including www.about-hepatitis.com and www.foodborneillness.com. For more information contact Cody Moore at cmoore@marlerclark.com or 206-407-2200.

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Photo of Claire Mitchell Claire Mitchell

Claire received her J.D. degree from Hofstra University School of Law with a concentration in Energy and the Environment in May 2010. She received her B.A., majoring in English, from Villanova University, magna cum laude. During law school, Claire served as Articles Editor for the Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal, was elected President of the Legal Emergency Aid Project and elected Treasurer of Hofstra Law Women. She is currently pursuing an LL.M. degree in Food and Agricultural Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. In August 2010, Claire was selected as the recipient of the Marler Clark Graduate Assistantship, part of a new public/private partnership that will allow the University of Arkansas School of Law to partner with leaders in the food and agricultural legal communities. Although she began the LL.M. Program in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Claire is now living in Seattle in order to devote more time to her work at Marler Clark and is completing her LL.M. degree through distance learning. In addition to her academic and professional commitments, Claire blogs on Food Poison Journal and has been published in the Food and Drug Law Institute’s Update and the American Agricultural Law Association’s Update.