Food Safety News

1 dead, dozens ill after church potluck dinner in N.B. town

Campus Administrator
1 dead, dozens ill after church potluck dinner in N.B. town
par Campus Administrator, lundi, 5 janvier 2015, 16:07
Read more: Staff
Published Thursday, December 11, 2014 6:15PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:31PM EST

An elderly woman has died and about 30 others are sick after a church potluck dinner in a small New Brunswick town.

More than 100 people gathered at Nackawic Community Hall last Friday Dec. 5 for a turkey dinner sponsored by a local church.

"One person was admitted to hospital and they, unfortunately, passed away," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Bessie Scott, 87, of Nackawic, died on Monday after having eaten at the dinner. Early autopsy reports show there is a strong likelihood that a gastrointestinal illness caused her death, but the health department is still investigating.

"All the types of food that were served, how those foods were prepared, the sources of each of those foods, where they came from in terms of grocery stores versus home-made versus... all of those elements are being looked at," Russell said.

Alex Hoffman said he attended the potluck gathering with his wife.
Within a few hours of eating supper, he said the couple came down with a gastrointestinal illness.
"I had to go to the washroom and I did my job, then an hour later... I wake up again, I had to go to the washroom and then an hour after that, also I had to go," he said. Hoffman said he has since recovered but his wife is still feeling the effects.

Close to three dozen others who attended the dinner also became ill.

The province’s health department says there are no laws which govern events such as community potluck dinners, but says food service education is available. "So that means any organization, any not for profit or church organization, community organization... health inspectors are willing and able, at any time, to go and give these food handling safety courses for no charge," Russell said.

The elderly, infants and people who have weakened immune systems are most at risk of developing complications from food poisoning.