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Family left without recourse after food poisoning hospitalization

DENVER -- A Salmonella outbreak last November in Weld County has left a single mother whose daughter nearly died with no recourse.

“She went through so much. We were so scared at that point,” said Maria Montes.

Her then 10-year-old daughter Rosie nearly died after eating at Burrito Delight in Fort Lupton.

Burrito Delight

Burrito Delight in Fort Lupton linked to salmonella outbreak that sickened 37 people

Montes said, “She could eat nothing not even water. It would all come out. She would throw up everything.”

She took her to the emergency room where she was admitted for ten days.

According to medical documents, doctors thought Rosie was suffering from appendicitis, but one day after her condition did not improve, additional tests confirmed salmonella.

Montes believes Rosie is lucky to be alive.  “I could have lost my daughter at that time.” Montes said.

37 people in six Colorado counties were sickened by the salmonella outbreak. The food borne illness was first reported in mid-February when people became sick from Burrito Delight either at a catered event or food from the restaurant.

Rosie had eaten at the restaurant.

“I had to be at the hospital and in the evening, I would have to go home and check on my other kids because I have three other kids and I had to be running back and forth every day,” Montes said.

Four people who suffered from the outbreak were hospitalized.  Weld County’s Department of Public Health and Environment shut down the Fort Lupton and Dacono locations while they investigated the source of the salmonella.

Weld county’s Eric Aakko said, “37 confirmed laboratory cases is high. That’s probably the largest one we’ve had in a long, long time here in Weld County.”

The health department required both locations to meet code before they could re-open.  Aakko said, “The restaurant in questions was required to meet pretty stringent reopening criteria which they did.”

Burrito Delight open for business after serious Weld County outbreak

Burrito Delight open for business after serious salmonella outbreak in 2017

Medicaid covered tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, but Monte wanted reimbursement for lost wages and Rosie’s pain and suffering.

Personal injury attorney Jason Jordan said, “The reason we took this case is because the injuries were so severe to a young girl.”

Jordan soon realize there was not much he could do for Monte.

That's because Jordan says the owner of Burrito Delight does not have general liability insurance. Jordan said, “It was pretty shocking to us.”

Even more shocking to Jordan is Burrito Delight’s lack of insurance is perfectly legal.

“We’ve seen these kinds of cases before but in the past, they’ve had insurance. I’ve never looked further to ask the question are they required to have insurance and the answer is no.”

According to the Colorado Restaurant Association there is no requirement for restaurants to carry liability insurance.

Jordan said, “To be serving food to the general public and have no insurance whatsoever is incredibly surprising.”

FOX31’s Erika Gonzalez said, “I was hoping to speak with Jose.”

Erika searching for owner

Fox31's Erika Gonzalez searching for owner of Burrito Delight

The Problem Solvers tried contacting the owner of Burrito Delight several times, but we could never find him at his restaurants and his attorney told us “no comment.” FOX31 did uncover the operator rents the building and kitchen equipment.

Jordan believes this case should serve as an eye opener to anyone who eats out. Jordan said, “That is a public policy question that I would like to see myself to see advance further.”

Weld County inspectors cited Burrito Delight in Fort Lupton for two critical violations on August 29, 2018 including food temperature and utensil use. An inspector cited the location in Dacono this past summer for not using a commercially approved pesticide.

Montes said, “It’s just bad because they are still running up a business and there’s a lot of people eating there   if it happens again they are going to go through the same thing probably.”

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