Salmonella investigation continuing

Source of Article:


Jun 25, 2009 - 04:05:17 CDT

Bismarck Tribune

State Health Department officials were scheduled to meet Wednesday with a rural Washburn caterer linked with three separate outbreaks of salmonella poisoning.

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 Tuesday.

Numerous attempts by the Tribune to reach Jennings by phone were unsuccessful.




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