‘It was traumatic.’ Suffolk says Kumo Japanese Steakhouse rice sickened 28; restaurant receives 15 violations

The mother of one of the victims spoke to News 12’s Virginia Hue about the ordeal.

Lauren Pena

Sep 10, 2023, 4:33 PM

Updated 215 days ago

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Kumo Japanese Steakhouse in Stony Brook was cited for 15 violations after dozens of people got sick from eating rice Saturday at the restaurant, a Suffolk County spokesperson confirmed.
Centereach resident Arial Arias, the mother of one of the victims, spoke to News 12’s Virginia Hue on Sunday about the ordeal.
Arias said she took her daughter and 10 of her friends to the restaurant to celebrate her 13th birthday. Just 15 minutes after the girls ate fried rice and chicken, she said they became violently ill.
“It was traumatic,” she said. “One girl was projectile vomiting. I still didn't know if it was anxiety. I happened to look over, another girl projectile vomiting."
Shortly after, several 911 calls were made around 4 p.m. alerting first responders.
A Suffolk County spokesperson said a total of 28 people reported getting sick. Twelve of them went to were rushed to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment and were discharged.
The county said the incident was a result of the restaurant mishandling and improperly storing cooked rice. Out of the 15 violations issued against Kumo Japanese Steakhouse, eight were for risk factors for food-borne illness.
Arias said all 11 girls in her daughter’s party were at the hospital and are now recovering at home.
“I’m distraught. I went to take my daughter out for her 13th birthday and celebrate with all of her best friends. I thought this was going to be a joyous thing, and it turned out with them all in the hospital together for the night,” she said.
Arias said she is considering legal action against Kumo to compensate for the girls' suffering.
"I'm extremely angry with the business," she said. "We all go out to eat all the time. We never think we're going to eat somewhere, and the food is going to be contaminated."
Kumo was not open for business on Sunday. News 12 called the owner several times but had not been able to reach him for comment as of Sunday evening.
The county said in regard to the violations cited against Kumo that, "Any fines will be issued after the hearing set by the Health Department."


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