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The Ahwahnee Hotel's 'Great Room' (photo by Sal Maccarone)

Stomach Illness Report Spurs Yosemite Food Services Probe

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — The Associated Press is reporting that federal health officials are inspecting Yosemite National Park’s food service areas after at least a dozen people have fallen ill with stomach issues.

The National Park Service and the U.S. Public Health Service confirmed late last week that they launched an investigation after employees and visitors reported the problems this month.

Federal officials said they haven’t identified the illness or the origin of the outbreak. Park officials said those who had gotten sick are getting better or have already recovered.

Federal officials were working with Aramark, the concessionaire that operates Yosemite’s restaurants, snack shops and hotels, to clean up and disinfect food service facilities in the park, including the famous Ahwahnee Hotel, according to Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman.

“The park is reminding all employees and visitors to wash their hands frequently and stay home if they experience any symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness,” Gediman said in a statement.

A message seeking comment from Aramark was not immediately returned.

Aramark reported has received numerous complaints from visitors about poor food quality, shuttle service and other services since it began managing Yosemite’s concessions four years ago.

SNO reported last week that the Ahwahnee Hotel lost its prestigious four-diamond rating by AAA, a distinction the luxury hotel had held since 1991. The Ahwahnee is now listed as a three-diamond hotel by AAA.

Visitors to the world-famous hotel, which is located at the foot of the iconic Half Dome, have included Queen Elizabeth II and a number of U.S. presidents.

ABC 30 News contributed to this report.

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