25, 2009 - 04:05:17 CDT
By BRIAN GEHRING
Health Department officials were scheduled to meet Wednesday with a rural
Washburn caterer linked with three separate outbreaks of salmonella
State epidemiologist Kirby Kruger said investigators from the Health
Department were to visit the home of Aggie Jennings to determine how the
salmonella bacteria associated with baby chickens may have contaminated food
she served at three events.
Jennings, who does not have a license for catering, served meals to a wedding
party and a family reunion the weekend of June 13, and another wedding
Saturday in McClusky, sickening more than 75 people.
Kruger said food samples from the McClusky wedding that took place last
Saturday have been collected for testing.
He said more than 30 people who attended that dinner have been interviewed,
and questionnaires have been mailed to others.
He said the strain of salmonella suspected of causing the illnesses is
commonly associated with young chickens, but it is not known how it may have
been transmitted to the food.
"That's what we're hoping to determine," Kruger said.
Kruger said birds are natural reservoirs for the salmonella bacterium.
He said information investigators are hoping to gather is how and where the
food was prepared.
To be licensed as a caterer, Kruger said the food preparation area must be
separate from the living or other areas in a home.
The health department issued a cease and desist order for Jennings' operation
Numerous attempts by the Tribune to reach Jennings by phone were