> Thanksgiving Dinner Ends in Tragic Death of Three Guests - The Food Safety Company Thanksgiving Dinner Ends in Tragic Death of Three Guests - The Food Safety Company
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    Friday, 2 December 2016

    Thanksgiving Dinner Ends in Tragic Death of Three Guests

    A Thanksgiving gathering in Antioch, CA concluded not with the traditional gorging of several different pies, but with 17 cases of illness and three deaths, according to local health officials. People suffering from illness were admitted to Sutter Delta Medical Center the following Friday and Saturday, 25 and 26 November respectively. The outbreak affected several families, spreading from a dinner at the Antioch American Legion Hall arranged by the Golden Hills Community Church. Tragically, the three deaths befell attendants brought along from assisted living facilities. A spokesperson said that bringing these residents to the church dinner was a tradition.

    Over the course of this week, the true breadth of the illness unfolded, according to Food Safety News. On Monday, there were three reported deaths and five illnesses originating from a single family who had attended the gathering. Come Tuesday, the incident was declared an outbreak as nine others in attendance reported illness.

    The only dishes prepared on the premises were mashed potatoes and stovetop stuffing; green beans were warmed up as well. Remaining dishes (turkey, graving, casseroles, etc.) were prepared in the private residences of volunteers or donated by restaurants in the area. The event was thrown without a proper permit, an oversight that could have prevented the unfortunate outbreak. Had a permit been obtained, served food would have to have been prepared in a licensed facility, ruling out private kitchens.

    Health Services spokesperson Victoria Balladares believes that the outbreak was not linked to the dinner, saying in a statement, “if it were a food bourne outbreak, we’d expect to see a lot more people sick.” Apparently, around 800 others ate the same dinner without falling ill.

    William Marler, food safety attorney, believes that the source of the illness came from a bacteria found in undercooked meats left to sit at room temperature. Called Clostridium perfringens, it is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness in America, responsible for nearly 1 million illnesses each year. Preventing C. perfringens starts with cooking beef, poultry, and gravies to the correct internal temperature, using a thermometer to ensure the recommended temperature. Once cooked, food should be kept at a high temperature of 140°F (60°C) or cooled to 41°F (5°C). Keeping pre-cooked food at the correct temperature will prevent the growth of harmful C. perfringen spores.

    Jacqui Litvan

    Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).
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