ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- If you visit the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg and enjoy a bite to eat while you're there, you will need to hear this Hepatitis A warning.
Cafe Gala, located inside the Dali Museum, had a worker test positive for Hepatitis A less than two weeks ago.
On June 28, a joint inspection was completed by the Pinellas County Health Department and the Division of Hotels and Restaurants, finding 14 food safety violations inside Cafe Gala.
That included employees not properly washing their hands and the employee's hand wash sink was blocked by a cart and bus tubs, so no one could use it.
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The state also issued a stop sale on cans of ripe olives because they were dented/rusted along with discovering a bag of food, stored on the floor in the storage area.
Cafe Gala is named in honor of Salvador Dali's wife, Gala.
The Dali Museum's Cafe Gala released the following statement:
The Dalí Museum has complemented its offering of unparalleled art by Spanish artist Salvador Dalí with Spanish café cuisine. The Dalí owns the name and menu of Café Gala and contracts with Go To Steve’s to staff and manage the Café. On June 28th, Café Gala’s staff received notification from the Department of Business & Professional Regulation and the State Health Department that a restaurant worker, formerly employed by the Café, had contracted Hepatitis A. Naturally, Museum administration made it a top priority to investigate.
These agencies concluded that the exposure was a very low-level health threat as the past-employee was not involved in food preparation. Further, the agencies indicated that no further action from the state would take place, and no public health warning would result.
The Health Department met with Café employees and provided them with information about Hepatitis A; subsequently all Café Gala staff members whom had not already been vaccinated chose to do so, as a precaution. Staff of the Museum were also notified of the situation. Café Gala management conducted an in-depth review of the FDA’s new Employee Health & Personal Hygiene Handbook and added a policy that requires all future Café Gala staff members to be vaccinated for Hepatitis A before they begin employment.
The former Café Gala employee was a dishwasher whom had no involvement with food preparation.
Their last day of employment with the Café was June 17, 2019.
Tara Tufo Group Director, Public Relations | Paradise
Hepatitis A has become an epidemic in the Tampa Bay area and the state with more than 1,700 confirmed cases in Florida since January 2018.
The hepatitis A virus is spread when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks that have been contaminated with small undetected amounts of stool from an infected person.
Pinellas County Health Department is offering hepatitis A vaccines to the public at no cost at several vaccine centers. For more information on where you can get these free vaccines in Pinellas County, you can click here. Other Florida counties, including Hillsborough, also provide free or discounted hepatitis A vaccines. You can click here for more information.
For more information on hepatitis A and guidelines from the federal government, visit: www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm.