Inspectors allow Matador restaurant to reopen after E. coli outbreak

KING 5's Elisa Hahn reports.

SEATTLE - Health inspectors green-lighted the reopening of a Seattle restaurant, even though they have not been able to pinpoint a source of an E. coli outbreak that sickened seven of its customers.

One of the co-owners told KING 5 the restaurant has been completely sanitized and all the food items discarded.

New food will arrive Friday and the staff will re-open the Ballard restaurant Saturday at 11 a.m.

The state Department of Health said investigators are going through a process of elimination. Since some of the patients ate the food outside the restaurant and reheated the food at home, they're fairly certain the source of the outbreak was not a food handling issue.

Related: Matador customer: E. coli illness 'worst pain you can imagine'

That leads them to look at suppliers and a food item.

The problem is with Mexican food you have multiple ingredients that go into many of the dishes on the menu, like tomatoes, onions, cilantro, which can be subject to contamination farther back on the food chain.

One person outside King County and two others from out-of-state, who became ill with a strain that shares the same genetic fingerprint, have no known connection to Matador.

All of them are being asked to fill out food surveys on where they ate and when, to see if there are any common denominators that will lead to a source.

The family of a 16-year-old girl who suffered kidney failure has already filed suit. Others are expected to join the lawsuit.

Related: Lawsuit filed in Matador E. coli outbreak

But inspectors believe the risk for any further contamination at the Ballard restaurant is very low.

Copyright 2016 KING


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