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Foodborne illness strikes Food Safety Summit attendees

By Jenni Spinner+


Four attendees of the recent Food Safety Summit reportedly have been hit with an as-yet undetermined foodborne illness.
Four attendees of the recent Food Safety Summit reportedly have been hit with an as-yet undetermined foodborne illness.

Four people who attended the recent Food Safety Summit conference and exhibition reportedly have been stricken with a foodborne pathogen.

Sara Luell, public information officer with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, told FoodProductionDaily while four people at the event (held in the Baltimore Convention Center) reported symptoms of illness associated with foodborne pathogens, the cases to date have not been serious.

Although we are in the initial stages of the investigation, there are currently no reported hospitalizations or deaths related to these illnesses,” she said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

Luell added health officials do not yet know which specific foodborne pathogen the Food Safety Summit attendees might have been stricken by.

First response

Michael Schwartzberg, public information officer of the  Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD), said the city received a total of four calls to its 311 line, from people complaining of diarrhea, upset stomach and other related symptoms showing up approximately 12 hours after each had eaten at the Baltimore Convention Center on April 9.

The Baltimore City Health Department sent two environmental health sanitarians to the center’s Centerplate foodservice facility on April 16 for an initial examination; with the exception of condensation dripping from an ice machine (not related to the illnesses), nothing was out of order, he said.

There were no violations noted at the most recent routine and regularly scheduled inspection of Centerplate/Baltimore Convention Center on February 27, 2014,” he added.

Ongoing investigation

Amy Riemer, education director of the Food Safety Summit, told FPD event organizers are working with health department officials in the investigation.

The 2014 Food Safety Summit, an annual conference and exhibition focusing on current safety concerns and emerging technologies, took place in Baltimore April 8-10.

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