Chicago (CBS) — Several customers of a Southwest Side grocery store say the food they got there landed them in the hospital with salmonella.
An abnormal pain kept 13-year-old Lily Hernandez up at night.
“I could not sleep. I would be waking my mom up in pain,” she said. “I felt pain in my shoulder and it didn’t feel normal.”
The discomfort landed the teen in the hospital where she was diagnosed with a foodborne disease.
Ashleen Dygas says her daughter is a three-sport athlete, but is now sidelined and hardly able to move her arm.
“I just broke down because it’s something that you don’t expect,” Dygas said.
The bacterial infection entered Lily’s bloodstream, built up in her shoulder and affected her joints and bones.
“I’m just glad that we caught it in time,” Dygas said.
Dygas is one of at least six people to come forward to the Chicago Department of Public Health claiming carnitas from Supermercado Rivera caused them grief.
“She’s now afraid to eat anything that is related,” Dygas said.
CBS 2 looked into Supermercado Rivera’s health inspection history, uncovering a pattern of improper food storage.
In 2013, health workers recorded deli meats and cheese being kept at unsafe temperatures.
In 2016, examiners found at least 75 fruit flies on the walls and ceiling, one of the insects dead and in direct contact with the food.
The next year, inspectors were inside the supermarket again after a complaint was filed.
Despite 2017’s complaint and the business failing an inspection in 2016, the department didn’t pay a visit to Supermercado Rivera in 2018.
The next time they returned was March 1, days after another complaint and the alleged salmonella outbreak.
“It makes you nervous where you’re eating,” Dygas said.
The CDC estimates at least 450 Americans die annually due to the disease.
After five visits from the health department in the last month, Supermercado Rivera received a passing grade. Even though their doors remain open, their legal battles are still being waged.
Chicago’s Department of Public Health says there has been an average of eight foodborne outbreaks annually in the city over the last five years.
Doctors believe Lily may need a second surgery.