The number of people sickened by salmonella in a food poisoning outbreak linked to Clover restaurants has climbed to 15, as the company negotiated with regulators Tuesday evening to reopen its popular Cambridge and Boston-area restaurants Wednesday morning.
Clover founder and chief executive Ayr Muir said in an interview that his company had received permission to reopen its restaurants in Brookline and Burlington, but still had not received the green light from state health officials to operate its Cambridge-based Food Labs, where it prepares the meals sold in its food trucks in Boston, making it unlikely that the trucks would be back in service Wednesday.
Boston Inspectional Services spokeswoman Lisa Timberlake said her agency had not cleared Clover to operate its trucks in the city as of Tuesday night.
“We are not giving the OK for them to reopen until we get clearance from the state health department and they pass a full compliance inspection with the city’s inspectional services department,” she said.
Cambridge Inspectional Services Department issued a statement saying its staff planned to meet with Clover representatives at the company’s restaurant in Harvard Square Tuesday night and the Clover East Cambridge restaurant Wednesday morning to “determine if one or both restaurants can reopen.”
Brookline’s Commissioner of Public Health, Alan Balsam, said he would allow the restaurant to reopen Wednesday but only serve certain items on the menu because of limited storage and refrigeration facilities. Much of the food sold in that location is shipped in from the company’s Cambridge kitchen.
Muir said his aim was to reopen as much of his chain as possible Wednesday but said safety was a top priority. “We’re not going to open unless we’re all 100 percent confident about the safety of everything about our operation,” he said.
A salmonella outbreak among some of Clover’s customers since late June prompted health officials to order some of the restaurants to close July 12, and Muir then shut down the entire operation. A Cambridge inspector had found numerous safety violations at Clover’s East Cambridge kitchen.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the Brookline Public Health commissioner. His name is Alan Balsam.