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DOH investigates salmonella outbreak at Fernandina Beach Mexican restaurant

by: Jenna Bourne, Action News Jax Updated:

The Florida Department of Health is investigating a salmonella outbreak at Pablo’s Mexican Cuisine on 2nd Street in Fernandina Beach.

The restaurant is still open and feeding customers.

“We don’t want anybody to get sick,” said restaurant co-owner Fernando Madrigal.

Madrigal said he’s doing everything he can to help with the investigation.

So far, the Department of Health has identified five confirmed salmonella cases and three more probable cases.

Madrigal said he doesn’t believe all those cases could be from his restaurant.

“I’m working very hard with the health department to make sure we have everything right and correct,” said Madrigal.

During four inspections last week, inspectors found the restaurant’s salsa, chicken, queso and tomato sauce were stored at the wrong temperature.

They also found a dozen rodent droppings on a shelf where they store the tortillas.

Inspectors also reported finding a build-up of a mold-like substance on the soda dispenser and on the wall behind the dishwashing area.

The restaurant was temporarily shut down in 2014, when inspectors found 53 live roaches and 40 dead roaches. They also found salsa and milk stored at the wrong temperature and a mold-like substance in the ice machine and coolers.

Madrigal said customers should feel safe eating at his restaurant.

“I eat here every day, me and my family. This is a family business,” said Madrigal.

If you think you may have food poisoning, a Department of Health spokesman said you should go to the doctor and then call your local county health department or file an online food and waterborne illness complaint.