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  • pat hammond Jan 6, 2000 09:22 AM
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We've had quite an outbreak of hepatitis A in the last several months in St. Louis. For a while it seemed that every other day another food establishment was implicated. This virus is transmitted by food handlers, to food, and thence to customers. Finally food workers are going to be immunized before they are hired. Of course, if they'd just wash their hands that would fix it! Do you folks out there hear much about this problem where you live? Do you know what the health regs are for food handlers in your area? p.

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    gabriel solis

    This was (is?) an interesting episode in St. Louis culinary life. The outbreaks all seemed to happen at the sorts of restaurants I never frequent--M.P. O'Rielly's sticks out in my memory--bland joints populated by the grown-up version of the "popular" crowd. None, as far as I remember, at places like Mama's Coal Pot or Chaney's BBQ, The Saigon Cafe or Pho Grand. The interest in this state of affairs (besides my own self-interest in that I didn't get sick) is that there is so much talk among a certain class of white St. Louis residents (among others) of how dirty immigrants and minorities are, how x, y, or z group should not be allowed into the country because they bring in disease. And yet (as I have maintained for years about my favorite taco trucks and mexicatessens in Modesto, CA) theirs always seem to be the safer places to eat. Go figure...

    Gabriel Solis

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    1. re: gabriel solis

      Hi Gabriel: It's good to see another St.Louisan (and WUSTL student(?)) posting.

      In Jim Leff's Eclectic Gourmet Guide book he talks about the question people might have re: some of the smaller out of the way places that are recommended,"Is it clean?" I can't quote him, but the gist and also what I believe, is that smaller, sometime family-owned places cook with thoughtfulness and, shall we say, love. Their established clienteles have expectations, and those of us who wander in off the street benefit big time. Some of the spots you mention definitely fit that category. Have you tried #1 Sandwich, btw?
      pat.