The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

February 2, 2014

UPDATE: Health Dept.: Beans soaked in horse trough

Dozens taken ill after annual event


Jail refused leftover

According to the report, investigators determined the food for the event had been prepared at “a foundation, a church and a local jail,” though the report did not specifically name the locations.

Limestone County Jail workers cut onions and mixed vinegar-base slaw for the event, but did not prepare beans there, according Paul Cain with the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department.

After the event, leftover beans were brought to the jail for the prisoners but never consumed.

“As soon as (the leftovers) arrived, Sheriff Mike Blakely,  the chief cook, Arthur Jackson, and Erin Moran, dietician manager, examined the beans and remarked that they had soured in the pots … and an immediate decision was made not to use them for inmate meals,” Cain said. “The leftovers were refrigerated and, soon after, the sheriff was contacted to maintain what beans he had been offered for sampling.”

Environmental samples

The final report said investigators studied 14 food samples (boxed plates left over from the event), 30 environmental samples (samples from the church and the jail and from a variety of areas where food could have been contaminated), and from 13 stool specimens from those who fell ill.

Salmonella senftenberg was isolated “in two environmental samples obtained from the church, nine food samples and all stool specimens,” according to the report. “The two positive environmental samples were from environment swabs of a dirty strainer and the double sink floor drain at the church.”

The report says that while visiting the foundation, the church and the jail, health officials recommended ways to improve food safety and prevent salmonellosis infection and also distributed flyers.


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