Cholula’s Bakery in Santa Ana, California, was closed on January 6 by the Orange County Health Care Agency to conduct a foodborne illness investigation after numerous reports came in from local hospitals.
Consumers reported dizziness, palpitations and numbness after eating the company’s Rosca de Reyes bread or ‘the kings’ ring’ – a traditional Latin American and Spanish sweet bread eaten to celebrate Epiphany. The breads were sold in a number of local retail outlets across California.
Criminal investigation launched
However, the investigation was passed onto the Santa Ana police department for criminal investigation after preliminary lab results from bread samples indicated presence of a synthetic drug. Final lab results are expected within two weeks.
Cholula’s Bakery issued an apology to consumers on its Facebook page a few days after it closed down.
“First off and foremost we would like to apologize to all of our customers who experienced strange symptoms after eating our Rosca de Reyes cake. Our small business has been in operation for over 14 years and we have never seen anything like this; at the same time we don’t want anyone to think that for any reason we are attempting to bypass our responsibilities,” it said.
It explained it was cooperating with the health department to resolve the issue and its employees were also working hard towards reopening the business.
“Again, we are apologetic and in a way ashamed this happened to our customers,” it added.
Orange County Health Care Agency said it would keep the bakery shut until the company met professional restaurant grade cleaning, disposed of all opened food and ingredients used to make products and invested in mandatory training for all staff.