Helen Carter, President of the Athens-Limestone Foundation for Aging, which hosted the Athens Bean Day Event linked to last years Salmonella outbreak, released a letter in which she disagrees with portions of the Alabama State Health Department Report.  The report linked the event to dozens of Salmonella illnesses and hospitalizations.

Carter said in the statement the horse trough identified as one of six potential sources of cross-contamination responsible for the food contamination was borrowed from a local business. She said it was brand new, and this has been the process by which the beans have been prepared for the last 15 years.

No horses used the trough before it was used for soaking the beans, Carter continued. She said there are only so many things that can hold the 250 pounds of beans they must cook.

She said everybody was given gloves and were wearing them as far as she saw.

In her statement, Carter said, “Our board is dedicated to helping the community. The board certainly did not intend for an outbreak to occur. Without knowing the exact cause of the contamination, it is difficult to address what could have been done to prevent it.”