BOONE — Local and state public health officials have identified the likely source of illness from a recent foodborne incident at the Masonic Snow Lodge barbecue fundraiser held on July 19 in Boone.
“Samples of food served at the barbecue were collected and sent to the N.C. Department of Agriculture for testing, and Staph aureus enterotoxin was identified in the barbecue pork,” according to AppHealthCare (the public health department for Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties).
This toxin can produce foodborne illness symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramping, which was consistent with symptoms reported from people who were ill, the department said.
The Masonic Snow Lodge has been working closely with health officials and remains cooperative with the investigation.
“We regret this event and want to thank the health department for all their work and collaboration, and want to thank the community for their continued support and for following the guidance from our local public health staff,” stated Kenny Kaufman, master of the Boone Masonic Lodge.
Results from the survey questionnaire administered by local public health nurses and completed by community residents who ate food from the event are being analyzed for any additional insights that may be gained through the investigation.
“We appreciate the cooperation and continued support of the Masonic Snow Lodge and state and local partners during the investigation. We want to reiterate, if anyone still has purchased food or frozen food from the event, it should be thrown away and not eaten since there is still a risk it could be contaminated. Though food permits are not always required for nonprofit limited events, we encourage groups to reach out to us for us to provide support in reviewing food safety practices,” said Jennifer Greene, AppHealthCare health director.
For additional information about this event and more from AppHealthCare, call (828) 264-4995 or visit www.apphealthcare.com.