5 On Your Side

Final report confirms anchovies as source of EVOO sicknesses

Posted June 23, 2009 6:23 p.m. EDT
Updated June 24, 2009 3:37 p.m. EDT

— Wake County's Environmental Health and Safety Division released its final report Tuesday on what sickened people at a popular Five Points restaurant.

Anchovies purchased from U.S. Food Service caused at least 10 people to become suddenly sick at EVOO restaurant, 2519 Fairview Road, on April 17.

Monarch Food Group, a subsidiary of U.S. Food Service, recalled the anchovies because they contained a high level of histamines, which is the leading cause of fish poisoning.

Tuesday’s report confirms anchovies contaminated with high levels of histamine as the source of the sickness.

The anchovies were prepared at the EVOO salad station, and used in some salads. Health officials said they suspect "cross contamination" since all of the patrons who got sick had some kind of salad.

Samples of tuna that were tested also had high levels of histamine. However, it remains a mystery how the tuna was contaminated and what role it may have played in the sickness.

The sicknesses at EVOO prompted the Food and Drug Administration to announce a nationwide recall of contaminated anchovies. But the agency never told Wake County's Environmental Health and Safety Division. The agency didn't find out until WRAL's 5 on Your Side called questioning a possible connection of the recall with the EVOO sicknesses.

The Wake agency says it's working with the FDA to improve future communications.

 To read the report, click here.