Food Safety News reported that it was the pan-seared breast of Chicken Marsala served by the Baltimore Convention Center’s exclusive caterer was the food item most commonly consumed by the 216 attendees sickened by the lunch served last April 9 at the Food Safety Summit’s annual conference. It was likely contaminated with Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens), a spore-forming gram-positive bacterium commonly found on raw meat and poultry. Attendees at the popular conference were from 42 states, Canada, Mauritius and Costa Rica. The local health department learned of the illnesses not from the organizers of the event, the convention center, or the caterer, but from calls by attendees to the city’s 311 service.
According to the report being released today by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the illnesses experienced at the 2014 Food Safety Summit in Baltimore were attributed to C. perfringens. Those sickened experienced symptoms of diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, headaches, chills, vomiting and fever between April 8-12, 2014.
About two-thirds of those sickened experienced the symptoms after eating the chicken lunch that was served by the Baltimore Convention Center’s catering company called Centerplate, according to the final report of the investigation that used epidemiological, environmental and laboratory methods to reach its conclusions.