Source of food contamination that caused 77 people to get sick in the Shoals identified

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. - The Alabama Department of Public Health released some staggering numbers Thursday morning for the number of people who got ill from a potential food borne illness in the Shoals.

Dozens had to seek treatment, while others had to be hospitalized. And we may now know where it came from.

Hospitals across north Alabama started seeing residents come in Sunday morning with potential food poisoning. State health officials were immediately notified of a potential outbreak.

111716-dr-karen-landers“This is a large number and of course we take the stance that the most important elements of this are to first of all ensure that the patients are being seen,” stated Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health. “Secondly, continue our thorough investigation.”

Dr. Landers said 77 people became ill after attending a private event at the Radisson in Sheffield. Of that number, 12 had to be hospitalized for what they now call a presumptive Salmonella outbreak.

Indelible Catering, based in Lawrence County, is now under investigation by the health department.

“Most of the time food can look very appealing, and not necessarily taste or smell unusual,” Dr. Landers explained. “So a person may consume that, not believing there is an issue or a problem.”

Dr. Landers said the cause of a food borne outbreak is normally a breakdown in the chain of handling the food.

Landers added they will continue to follow-up with the patients to make sure they are getting the care they need.

State health officials said Indelible Catering is working with investigators to determine the cause. They have also voluntarily stopped preparing food at this time.