Portland, I’m about to be in you; get rid of your Salmonella

I’m all caught up on my Portlandia viewing, I’ve got my beard trimmed and my suspenders packed.

I’m even going to bring my mason jars to drink out of.

I’m ready for IAFP in Portland.

Maybe the conference karma will be better for the food safety nerds than it was for attendees of the Open Source Bridge Conference. According to conference organizers, health authorities at least 50 attendees of the developers conference came away with salmonellosis.


We have determined that Salmonella caused gastrointestinal illness among conference attendees. Laboratory tests helped investigators identify a distinct Salmonella strain (Salmonella typhimurium) in six attendees who became ill between June 26th and June 30th. In addition to these six cases, 45 other people reported having symptoms consistent with Salmonellosis. They were among more than 220 conference attendees who responded to a Health Department survey that conference organizers shared last week.

The Health Department is continuing its investigation to identify the source of the bacteria that caused the illness. There is no indication that this outbreak spread beyond people connected to the conference. We are monitoring illness in Oregon to assure this is the case.

Health department links undercooked and reheated barbecue linked to Salmonella illnesses

Growing up in Canada, barbecue was an event, or an outside cooking appliance. In North Carolina barbecue is a food.

And for some, sort of a religion.

Barbecue is made by slow cooking pork (often a whole hog) in a smoker for hours until the meat is tender enough to be pulled off of the bones. The kind I like is tossed in a vinegar and pepper sauce (that’s Eastern North Carolina style) and served with a couple of vegetable sides.bbq-tom-vin-m__05901.1405326372.1000.1200

Kind of like what led to almost 70 cases of salmonellosis last fall at a conference in Bessemer City, NC. According to the Gaston Gazette, the heath department’s investigation fingered the pork dish as the likely vehicle for the pathogen.

The investigation began after multiple people sought treatment for a stomach illness in early October.

The local health department collected information and found that many of the patients had attended a conference between Oct. 1 and 5 at Living Word Tabernacle Church in Bessemer City.

A report released this week found that Boston butts prepared by a church member were the likely culprits.

The pork was cooked overnight in a smoker a day before it was served. Then it was returned to the smoker the day of the meals.

Some of the pork hadn’t cooked all the way through in time for lunch so it was cooked longer then taken to the church for dinner.

The church member who cooked the meat said it was cooked at 350 degrees the first night, but no cooking temperature was given for when the pork was put back on the grill the next day.

Three people were hospitalized.

The purpose of the health department study isn’t to cast blame. It’s to educate, according to health officials.

The church was not required to have a permit to serve the food because the meals were free, but proper food preparation and storage should always be observed, said Samantha Dye with Gaston County Health and Human Services.

Salmonellosis outbreak linked to North Carolina church conference

Earlier this year, the Food Safety Summit, an annual gathering of food safety nerds dealt with an outbreak of foodborne illness amongst attendees. Over 100 became ill with C. perfringens  after eating a buffet meal. Conferences provide a nice environment for an outbreak – everyone eats sorta the same stuff and when things go bad, a lot of people get sick. salmonella

WSOCTV reports that Gaston County (NC) health officials are investigating an outbreak of salmonellosis that has been linked to a conference held Oct 1-5 at Living Word Tabernacle Church in Bessemer City.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, at least 50 attendees are reporting symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever.

As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, seven cases of Salmonella were confirmed with a significant number of lab results pending and more samples being collected.

“Our public health staff is working closely with the church, the North Carolina Division of Public Health, and the community,” said Chris Dobbins, DHHS director. “Our priority is to identify those who have fallen ill, ensure they have received proper medical attention, and work together to identify a source so we can educate and prevent future outbreaks of this nature.”

Lots of noro: students sick in Denver; cases on the rise in Missoula

Maybe it’s due to the rise of the Sydney strain, or maybe because of the extra long North American winter season, but there continues to be a lot of norovirus floating around. The Denver Post reports that at least ten high school students have norovirus-like symptoms after attending a Future Business Leaders of America conference in Vail.noro web

About 2,000 students from 165 schools across the state were attending the conference that began Sunday, and stayed in several hotels throughout the Vail area. Authorities said the first students with symptoms apparently were staying at The Sebastian hotel.

The conference concluded Tuesday, and students have returned home. But the state health department expects more cases will be reported due to the close proximity of students to each other on buses and in hotel rooms and the highly contagious nature of stomach viruses.

On Wednesday Larimer County Department of Health and Environment was investigating 10 reported cases of students in the Poudre School District who were suffering similar symptoms after the conference, according to spokeswoman Jane Viste.

In related news KPAX reports that, Missoula health officials are investigating multiple illnesses that appear to be norovirus and it is unclear if they are related.