Several Drexel freshmen blamed the Handschumacher Dining Center for food poisoning between Jan. 29 and Jan. 30. After investigation, Sodexo has reached the conclusion that the source of the issue is most likely norovirus, which is also commonly referred to as the stomach flu or stomach virus.
Students reported having symptoms such as vomiting, dry heaving and lightheadedness not long after eating at the dining center and attributed the sickness to food poisoning.
Tommy Shemesh, a freshman electrical engineering major, was instructed to go to the hospital after nine hours of heavy vomiting and was then told he had norovirus.
In a statement given by Gregory Yost, Sodexo’s manager of public relations, it was reported that Sodexo conducted an investigation after the students reported their illnesses. Sodexo’s safety team accounts for several factors, including student and customer illness claims, medical diagnoses, employee illnesses and food handling procedures.
Sodexo specifically examined employee health data, compliance with proper food handling and preparation procedures, illness symptoms, a review of common dining locations and common foods ingested, and a recent reported increase of norovirus on campus.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the onset time after ingesting contaminated foods can vary from one hour to 14 days, depending on the organism causing the illness. The symptoms of food poisoning also vary upon the organism.
Sodexo reached the conclusion that the source of the issue is the norovirus, and nothing in the investigation indicates that the food served was the cause of the illnesses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noroviruses cause gastroenteritis and food poisoning and are usually spread through infected water and foods, although they can also be passed from person to person. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.