Fig & Olive Salmonella Outbreak Goes National As Second Lawsuit Filed in D.C.


Trendy New York-based Mediterranean chain Fig & Olive is having a bad month, apparently on both sides of the country.

A second lawsuit against the restaurant was filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for D.C. by plaintiff Josseline De Saint Just, who alleges that she became sick with salmonella after dining at Fig & Olive’s CityCenterDC location on Sept. 5. According to the complaint, the Montgomery County resident “ordered drinks, a crostini appetizer, tuna carpaccio, and a truffle mushroom croquet, with an apple tart and vanilla ice cream.” Two days later, she began to feel “extreme fatigue,” suffering “repeated bouts of diarrhea coupled with severe abdominal cramping.” Blood samples eventually tested positive for a salmonella infection—a common but potentially lethal disease if left untreated. De Saint Just is nominally suing the restaurant for $250,000 as well as attorney’s fees.

She’s not the only one. Last week, Arlington resident Laura Donahue filed a similar complaint, having dined at Fig & Olive on Sept. 2. The District Department of Health shut down the eatery for six days, requiring it to remove truffle fries and mushroom croquettes from its menus (items suspected of containing pathogens), review its food-handling and sanitation practices, and purge its entire food stock. On Sept. 16, DOH allowed Fig & Olive to reopen—despite 10 confirmed cases of salmonella and 150 “possible cases”—as the restaurant had complied with regulations.

As of Wednesday, DOH had confirmed 14 cases of salmonella infection linked to Fig & Olive’s D.C. site, says Marcus Williams, a spokesperson for the department. "Interviews of those who reported illnesses are ongoing; to date, DOH has interviewed 135 persons," he explains in an email to City Desk. "DOH has visited the establishment twice since restoring its license." The eatery remains open.

In an email to City Desk, an L.A. Department of Public Health spokesperson said that nine confirmed cases of salmonella have been linked with Fig & Olive's West Hollywood location—six affecting customers and three affecting employees.

Check back for updates on this post.