Salmonella Outbreak at Disney World

Ironic how questions get answered so quickly. Soon after yesterday's question about bad theme park food comes the news that a salmonella outbreak's sickened more than 100 people at Walt Disney World.

From Robert Niles
Posted August 24, 2002 at 10:33 AM
Ironic how questions get answered so quickly. Soon after yesterday's question about "Who Has the Worst Theme Park Food?" comes the news that salmonella-tainted tomatoes have sickened more than 100 people at Walt Disney World.

Among those fallen ill are organ-transplant recipients, visiting WDW for an athletic competition. (Organ transplant recipients are especially at risk for serious infection from salmonella.)

Disney stopped serving the tainted tomatoes, and a whole host of state and federal agencies are investigating.

Here are additional stories from MSNBC and the Orlando Sentinel.


  • Who Has the Worst Theme Park Food?

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  • From Francois Chan
    Posted August 24, 2002 at 2:27 PM
    I hope there are no bad cracks about throwing rotten tomatoes at Eisner...;)

    From Kevin Baxter
    Posted August 24, 2002 at 4:07 PM
    Really! Maybe those people should have let the tomatoes hit Eisner instead of grabbing them and eating them! The weirdest thing about this is that they were canned tomatoes, right? Heaven forbid anyone use FRESH tomatoes at WDW. Bleah!

    From Anonymous
    Posted August 24, 2002 at 6:22 PM
    I know this doesn't fit in with this particular topic, but I have to say that this Kevin Baxter guy is extremely biased against Disney. It's alright if you say u dont like aspects of Disney, but to continuosly diss Disney is pretty immature. We get the point Kevin!!!

    From Robert Swinarski Jr
    Posted August 24, 2002 at 10:48 PM
    The question that I have to pose on this is: Has this been happening in the past and Disney was just covering it up and/or getting the local press to ignore it, or is this just the latest in a series of bad things happening to the Disney product that is happening at the most inopportune time? If it was a case of cover-up in the past, bravo to the PR department at Disney! They were on the top of their game for some time! However, I suspect that this is a case of price cuts hitting Disney on all levels. By this, I mean:

    The cuts in staff results in less people being forced to do more, even in the kitchens at Disney; the cuts in budget for QA (Quality Assurance)means that there are less inspectors covering shipments coming in to the theme park resorts and park restaurants; Cheaper vendors are used for shipments coming in as well, possibly resulting in lower-quality items being purchased; further cuts in staff spreads managers that might (note I said might- we don't know if the tomatoes were bad due to package damage, expiration date or something else) have missed a tell-tale sign that the tomoatoes could be bad, and finally the loss of some Spin Doctors in PR lead to VERY bad press for the mouse. (I mean, c'mon...organ transplant recipients being made sick with a potentially life-threatening illness because they trusted the Disney restaurant? What's next, a Monorail hitting a bus filled with nuns and orphans?)

    Eisner and company REALLY need to get this thing in control. It's bad enough that the tourists aren't flocking to the gates like they did in the past, but this kind of press can really eat away at your numbers. Mr. Eisner needs to wake up and realize that you need to spend money to make money. A third-rate pay scale for your employees and doubling their workload to make up for cuts in the budget lead to a third-rate product. 10 or even 5 years ago, this would have been one incident that everyone was talking about. Now, it's just another thing in a long series of black eyes that Disney has gotten in the last 18 months.

    From Robert Niles
    Posted August 25, 2002 at 1:16 PM
    I'm not going to come down too hard on Disney for this one. Because food safety is a much larger problem in this country than anything that is, or is not, happening at Walt Disney World.

    Folks, if you have not yet, please take some time to read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. It will give you a clear perspective of what is happening not just in the food service industry, but throughout the nation's food supply.

    Simply put, the federal government's gotten out of the business of inspecting the nation's food. It leaves that job up to the industry itself, which, needless to say, has a pretty powerful short-term economic incentive to cut corners on safety.

    Long term, you could argue, the industry's got no incentive to skimp. In fact, long term, it is very much in the industry's interest to ensure that the food it produces is safe. But MBAs and other business managers do not think about the long term anymore. It's all about this quarter and what your stock price is doing today.

    Since the industry won't pay for inspections and the government won't pay for inspections, the public pays through salmonella outbreaks and other food-borne illnesses.

    And we, the public, don't even realize the health price were are paying here because underfunded state health agencies and profit-minded HMOs can't or won't track the illness that result. Heck, it took two months and a bunch of fortunate coincidences for this incident to be brought to the nation's attention.

    Other contributors are right? How many other incidents like this don't we know about?

    The number would likely shock us.

    This isn't just a Disney problem. This is a national problem. Our food supply could be much safer than it is today.

    From Anonymous
    Posted October 18, 2002 at 11:05 AM
    Hello,We have visited many theme parks,and had annual passes to Disney for years. Our family attended both times, the Transplant Games- were held in Disney,(Olympic style games held over 4 days for solid organ transplants)Our daughter had a transplant in 1989 at seven months old. The treatment we received this time from Disney was horrible, to say the least. I am not sure, what is going on with Disney, but I can say the Salmonella was bound to happen there, they need to take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. They just don't care about the safety of their guests, what the strange part is, we got sick from the food we ate, at the food court,(on Tues and Wednesday) from Disney's All Star Sports Resort(but it tasted okay).
    The closing party was held on Saturday, and our family wasn't feeling well, I was also,worried about our son Robby who was back at the resort because he was to sick to attend, The food they served us sat out for hours during a rain delay. The hambugers were at room temp, the salads were hot. Who job is it to check safety? It was the worst meal, I have ever been served at Disney. Why did Disney not care enough to protect us, especially because of all the immunosuppressed patients attending. They should not be allowed to do this. This trip was alot of money, paid to Disney, I can say I am angry at the way we were treated. What ever happened Disney? Who is hiding the real Disney? You can read more about it if you go to NKF website and click on athelete message board
    I love Disney but they broke my heart.

    From Shane Falcone
    Posted October 18, 2002 at 6:57 PM
    What is salmonella

    From Robert Niles
    Posted October 21, 2002 at 9:43 AM
    Your federal government provides the answer.

    From Oz B
    Posted October 23, 2002 at 7:29 PM
    I truly believe that food at Disney is an issue. Not only is the food expensive but its no longer safe to eat. Don't get me wrong I would like to close my eyes and forget this because I love Disney parks, but I can't becuase its actually happened to me. I ate at a "restaurant" at Animal Kingdom and got sick there after. I do agree that this is not a "disney problem", but the fact still remains that food cost alot and isn't safe. I know it must not happen often and I do have faith however, that Disney will get on the ball...eventually.

    From Anonymous
    Posted December 9, 2002 at 10:31 PM
    I don't know about this one but about 8 years ago I went to disney world and shared one of those big turkey legs with my guy. He was sick before we left the park. My problems started a few hours later and lasted 3 days longer! I called poison control 6 times to be sure I wasn't going to die. I wrote d.w. and told them this and was told too bad, wasn't us! D.W. food was all we ate that day and that gross turkey leg was the only thing we shared! I still wont eat turkey, and when I visit D.W. til this day I want to warn everyone eating one of those stinking things!

    From Jason Moore
    Posted December 10, 2002 at 10:12 AM
    I'm not really sure that your one isolated insident allows you to say that the turkey legs are all evil. does it suck that you got sick? of course it does! does it suck that Disney blew you off and claimed it wasn't them? absolutely! you have every right to be irritated at them for it. but if the turkey legs were a widespread problem they would be gone by now. they are quite popular and if everyone who ate one got sick something would have been done about it by now. I myself have eaten them a couple of times and never had a problem (I shared with my girl also).

    please don't misinterpet my comments. I'm only playing the voice of reason, not trying to be rude to the poor person who did get sick.

    From Kuribo -
    Posted December 10, 2002 at 12:39 PM
    Where are the links to the articles? The links above do not work.

    A lot of people get sick at a theme park and are quick to blame it on food poisoning. If you get sick within hours after eating, its not Foof Poisoning- its a problem with you, not the food. Food poisoning can take 24-48 hours to show any symptoms at all. And just because both of you ate the lasagna, doesnt mean it was the lasagna- You could both have the same stomach virus that is unrelated to the food.

    From Anonymous
    Posted February 24, 2003 at 9:30 PM
    they admitted fault to the public and to the victims...

    From Carey Lynn Holtsclaw
    Posted February 24, 2003 at 11:00 PM
    Wow, Disneys on a roll. First Contaminated Cruise Ships, now, Contaminated Resorts. And, all occured at the worst possible time in Disney's (tourism) History.

    From Kenny Hitt
    Posted February 28, 2003 at 7:22 AM
    I found it very interesting that, while the outbreak happened at the WWoS complex, CNN showed footage from Magic Kingdom and Epcot in the days following the outbreak, leading many to believe that the food poisoning had occurred in the flagship parks. Sales of food at the quick and full service restaurants (where, I might add, all food is cooked to order to minimize the risk of contamination) dropped dramatically.

    Thanks, Warner Brothers. I'm sure the food at Six Flags is just wonderful.

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