KC health department inspecting Brio Tuscan Grille after more than a dozen report illnesses

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Health department inspectors are investigating Brio Tuscan Grille for a possible food-borne illness after more than a dozen people reported suffering from severe nausea, diarrhea and other symptoms after eating at the restaurant.

According to the Kansas City Health Department, they received calls from two different families claiming a total of 13 people fell ill within hours of dining in at the Plaza restaurant.

Joseph and Monica Lauth didn't know city inspectors were investigating when they dined at Brio on Friday afternoon.

"I'm a nurse, and it would've been nice to know just to be a little bit more aware of what I should order and what`s safe to order off the menu," Monica said.

The health department said the first incident was on May 11. A party of 10 ate dinner at the restaurant, and by the next day eight of the 10 had nausea and diarrhea.

The second incident was on May 12. A party of nine had dinner at the restaurant with five of the nine reported suffering from body aches, fatigue, as well as nausea and diarrhea.

On May 15, inspectors conducted an inspection on Brio and noted three critical violations at the establishment, two of which were corrected by inspectors while on site.

The violations were: the high-heat dishwasher was not sanitizing dishes at the designated temperature of 160 degrees, a kitchen employee knocked a utensil on the inside of a trashcan and then put the utensil back into a container with clean utensils, and food prep employees and mangers did not have current food handler cards.

Those are violations Joseph and other customers were unaware of.

"I think if you had big signs up saying the health department is going to be here today might make people turn around at the door. I see where they are coming from but also having just ate there wished maybe they were a little more upfront," he said.

The health department said the results of the investigation could take up to a week and the restaurant will stay open in the meantime. That's news the Lauth's said will not stop them from coming back to Brio again.

"I don`t think it`ll be a big deal to me. I feel like this pops up in restaurants around the area occasionally, and as long as it`s being dealt with, eh whatever," Joseph said.

Brio released the following statement:

“Our guests are our top priority. Food safety and sanitation is very important to us. We are working with the Health Department to ensure compliance and are awaiting the final Health Department report from an inspection today. Any potential comments during the inspection would have been addressed immediately on site. We are proud of our long standing partnership with the Health Department.”

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