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Taste of Chicago Has Some Not-So-Tasty Aftereffects

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Jul 12, 2007 3:15PM

Taste of Chicago left a bad taste in the mouths of some; 17 people have become sick after eating tainted food from the Pars Cove booth at the annual food fest. Five of these have been diagnosed with salmonella contamination.This is the first time in the Taste's 27 years that there has been an incident like this.

2007_7_TOC.jpgIn the days after the Taste, the city began to receive reports of people getting sick; the only thing they had in common is they all ate at the Pars Cove booth, which was serving hummus shirazi, lamb and beef koubideh, pomegranate BBQ chicken and baklava. It all sounds delicious, but...

All booths at the Taste are inspected four times a day by a team of health inspectors. When they inspected the Pars Cove booth, they found food being stored below 140 degrees, the required holding temperature for hot food. That food was thrown out, said Frances Guichard, director of the city's food protection program.

When they stopped by the Lincoln Park eatery this week, inspectors this week found several violations at the restaurant, including unsanitary conditions, improper refrigeration and mouse droppings. All three violations were fixed at the time of inspection.

Max Pars, the restaurant's owner for the past 30 years, told the Trib he doesn't know how the contamination happened. "It's very surprising.We did everything properly. We were under supervision by the Health Department constantly." On a side note, several FOC's (Friends Of Chicagoist) swear by the food at Pars Cove; they said it is consistently excellent and they hope this doesn't destroy their business.

Image via Peter Fuchs.