PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - A Boca Raton restaurant is back under the microscope after several customers say they got sick after eating there. This is the third foodborne illness outbreak in the past year at "David Shin Ju Japanese Buffet" on Glades Road. Seven people reported they got sick from the restaurant in January.
"I was sick like a dog, fever, felt shivering cold, diarrhea, and couldn't go anywhere or eat anything," says Hesham Moustafa, a recent customer.
We found out that customers also complained of illness in August and June.
Tim O'Connor works for the Florida Health, Palm Beach County. The agency is currently investigating the restaurant. He says all of the customers who got sick ate raw oysters, and that health warnings associated with the oysters are posted inside near the buffet.
Despite the known risk in consuming oysters, inspectors want to know if there's more behind the repeated outbreaks.
"Another area that we looked at in this facility was the way they prepped a lot of the items prior to even putting them out on the buffet line," O'Connor says. "They really had to correct some of their procedures."
Inspectors found 63 violations during a recent visit. There were still 48 issues a few days later, some of which were repeat violations from the original inspection. When asked how much is too much, O'Connor says it's an ongoing process, and they will continue to keep going back.
The state inspector is recommending an administrative complaint against "David Shin Ju Japanese Buffet." which means the restaurant could face a fine. It's happened before. In 2012, the buffet was fined more than $1,400 for similar issues.
Moustafa, who spent a week sick in bed, thinks the fines should be higher.
"If you fine them and close them for a week, that will at least grab their attention," he says.
The owner, David King, told us by phone there is nothing seriously wrong at the restaurant, and they are fixing any issues the state found. Since customer safety is a priority, the buffet said it will no longer sell oysters.
As for the customers who got sick, none of them went to their doctor. The health department suggests visiting a doctor if you suspect food poisoning so they can take a sample and better track down the source of contamination.