Commentary from the Associated Press

Three people have been hospitalized and more than 300 people claim they became ill after eating at an Olive Garden restaurant last weekend, a health official said Friday.

Also, six restaurant workers reported on Monday that they were feeling ill, said Marion County Health Department spokesman John Althardt. Olive Garden is based in Orlando.

“We’re trying to isolate what the cause of the illness might be,” he said.

The problem has been isolated to the Olive Garden on East 82nd Street on Indianapolis’ north side, Althardt said.

Health officials have found no link to E. coli bacteria that sickened patrons at East Coast Taco Bell restaurants recently, Althardt said.


Olive Garden patrons reported becoming ill after eating at the restaurant on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, he said. They said they had symptoms including nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhea.

Inspectors met with restaurant managers on Tuesday and found no health code violations. Health officials were collecting leftover food and stool samples from those stricken to try to pinpoint the source of the illness, Althardt said.

A news release from the restaurant said the company is working with health officials to find the cause.

“We’re pleased the health department has determined our guests should feel comfortable continuing to dine at Olive Garden,” the statement said.

Frank Williams said he became sick Tuesday morning after eating at the Olive Garden over the weekend.

“It was my wife’s birthday party dinner and the only thing that everyone had was a little cake,” he told Indianapolis television station WRTV. “And that seemed to be a fairly unlikely candidate to cause everyone to get sick.”

Seven of the eight people in his party fell ill, he said.