Salmonella Warning Issued over Moby Dick House of Kabob Hummus

Salmonella Warning Issued over Moby Dick House of Kabob Hummus

Chain has six Montgomery County locations

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The Maryland Department of Health said it is investigating nine cases of salmonella in Maryland since Sept. 10 involving Moby Dick House of Kabob. In eight cases, people reported eating hummus, which the restaurant has temporarily stopped serving, although there is no proof yet of where the salmonella originated.

Moby Dick House of Kabob is a chain of Middle Eastern restaurants throughout the Washington, D.C., region. It is based in Hyattsville and has six Montgomery County locations.

The exact cause of the salmonella outbreak remains under investigation.

All nine cases were in Moby Dick restaurants in Maryland, but the health department did not specify which ones.

The health department notified Moby Dick on Tuesday of a “potential foodborne illness associated with our hummus,” Director & Chief Development Officer Alex Momeni wrote in an email Thursday evening.

“Moby Dick House of Kabob immediately moved to conduct its own independent testing and hire an outside food safety and environmental science consultant to review the matter,” he wrote. “Samples of our hummus were sent to an ISO Certified Food Testing facility earlier this week and, thankfully, the results of that testing have come back negative for the presence of any harmful pathogens.”

Momeni added that no other menu items have been identified as having the bacteria, but that the restaurant has stopped selling the hummus as a precautionary measure.

“We will continue to work cooperatively with the Department of Health while this situation is investigated and will implement the recommendations of our independent consultant and the State of Maryland as needed,” he wrote.

Moby Dick House of Kabob has Montgomery County locations in Bethesda, Potomac, Rockville, Olney, Gaithersburg and Germantown, according to its website. State health officials could not say whether any salmonella cases started at Montgomery County locations, citing patient confidentiality policies.

Spokeswoman Maureen Regan said that in two cases, patients were hospitalized, then discharged.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that causes 1.2 million illnesses per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, most of which are food-related. Symptoms typically include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, but some illnesses can require hospitalization.

The Maryland Department of Health estimates that 900 to 1,000 cases are reported in the state each year.

Thursday’s warning advises customers who recently ate at one of the restaurants to discard any hummus they purchased and seek medical attention if they experience salmonella symptoms.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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