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Woman Sickened by Bacteria-Tainted Food Sues Caterer

BY:   Sept 10th 2015

A holiday party gone wrong has sparked a lawsuit in Orange County Circuit Court with a food-poisoning victim suing the caterer for more than $15,000, records show.

Gina Ervin, one of 55 people sickened by bacteria in the food at a December lunch buffet in the Maitland Colonnades office building, has filed a lawsuit against Kitchen Divas.

In the complaint, Ervin accuses the Seminole County-based food service of negligently preparing the food and failing to follow industry-wide standards of reheating and storing the food at proper temperatures.

As a result, Ervin fell "violently ill" and experienced symptoms of food poisoning including cramps, headache and vomiting, the lawsuit states.

Ervin is seeking expenses related to hospitalization and medical care for her condition, the lawsuit states.

The owner of Kitchen Divas did not respond to a request for comment.

The business is now closed, according to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

After the Dec. 10 outbreak, in which 200 people were evaluated, the Florida Department of Health in Orange County identified two bacteria found in the food – staphylococcus aureus (Staph) and Bacillus cereus (B.cereus).

Its final report found the illness was caused by contaminated turkey served at the 700-person event while other bacteria found in ham and green beans may have contributed to symptoms.

Most of the food was prepared at a commercial kitchen – J.B. Commissary Services in Winter Springs – and stored in her home and garage at her home – where she is not licensed to operate.

An epidemiologist with the department found violations with the commissary and caterer.

Neither Ervin nor her lawyer Martin Buckley would comment on the case.

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