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East Lampeter food poisoning investigation continues, restaurant closed due to building violations

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EAST LAMPETER TWP., Lancaster County, Pa. -- UPDATE: According to Retail Food Facility Inspect Report, inspectors did observe a bottle of lye in crystal form was stored beneath the sushi buffet table at the Star Buffet & Grill.

UPDATE: As of Wednesday, March 7, East Lampeter Township officials closed the Star Buffet & Grill citing building violations.

According to Pennlive, the exact violations are unclear, but the restaurant was in violation of various state food codes as well.

Some violations included:

  • While inspecting the storage area, three opened bottles of crystal lye were found. One bottle was extremely dirty.
  • The person in charge is not performing the duties as required by the Pennsylvania food code to actively manage food safety in the facility, a repeat violation of 2016.
  • Raw chicken was found stored above assorted sauces in the walk-in cooler.
  • A cracked, black tote was found beneath the cooling unit filled with condensate, dripping into a tote of raw chicken in the walk-in cooler.
  • The inspector found a bottle lye in crystal form stored beneath the sushi buffet table.

PREVIOUSLY: East Lampeter Twp Police were called to assist emergency medical responders at the Star Buffet, 2232 Lincoln Highway East, on Friday, around 7:14pm. Three children reportedly drank apple juice and were having a severe reaction. Arriving officers say they found two children, a 4 year-old girl and a 10 year-old boy, that were experiencing burns to their mouths and throats, and were vomiting. A third child in the group, a 6 year-old boy, was experiencing stomach discomfort. Police were told all three children had the reactions after drinking from styrofoam cups that were served to them containing apple juice. An adult male in the group also experienced burns in his mouth after tasting the liquid. The reactions were confined to one group of patrons and no other persons reported any reactions or discomfort. The restaurant is operating as usual.

"We do not have the authority to close the restaurant. We are working with the Department of Agriculture and the US FDA and precautions were taken at the time of the incident to be sure nobody else would be injured," said Lt. Robin Weaver,  East Lampeter Township Police.

All of the children were transported to Lancaster General Hospital for treatment. The two children with more severe reactions were upgraded to trauma patients and were air lifted to Hershey Medical Center. The 6 year-old and the adult male were treated at Lancaster General Hospital and were released. Both children at Hershey Medical Center are now listed in fair condition.