Food vendor reopens after E. coli outbreak, customers return

KING 5's Elisa Hahn reports.

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- For two weeks, the food vendor called Los Chilangos was shut down because of an E. coli outbreak. On Thursday, the health department allowed them to reopen, as the number of confirmed E. coli cases linked to it climbs to ten.

The staff reopened the food truck in Bellevue, knowing they were under a microscope. The meat, rice and beans had to be hot. The salsas cold.

The owner, Noemi Mendez, says she's done everything to make sure her food is safe.

"I've been working with the health department to find out what is the cause of this and they still don't know," she said. "They still haven't find anything."

The communal kitchen Los Chilangos used to operate out in Bellevue of remains closed. They now prepare the food in a different location in Kent.

Investigators have tested the food and the employees and still have not found the source of the E. coli from the outbreak in August.

Mendez says she's heard about her customers who became ill, including 4-year-old Scout Buden, who is in the ICU at Seattle Children's hospital.

"I have two little ones, a 3 year old and a 2 year old, and I don't know what I'd do if they got sick," said Mendez. "I feel horrible."

KING 5 saw about 15 customers order food during the lunch hour. Most we talked with did not know about the E. coli outbreak, but all of the people we informed still ate their food anyway.

Los Chilangos operates two food trucks and five stands at area farmers' markets. They hope their customers will return and give them a second chance.


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