Cause of illness at Maryland food safety conference unclear
BALTIMORE — Health officials are investigating what may have sickened more than 100 people who attended a conference where more than 1,300 food safety experts had gathered.
No one at the Food Safety Summit held April 8-10 in Baltimore was hospitalized, according to health officials, and most people reported cases of diarrhea.
Alvina K. Chu, who is leading the Maryland Department of Health's investigation, said on Tuesday that officials haven't yet determined what caused people to get sick. It's not yet clear whether the illness was transmitted by food or from person to person, she said.
The Baltimore City Health Department received complaints of nausea and diarrhea from four people one week after the conference. Once the illnesses were reported, city health officials inspected the convention center and its in-house catering company, Centerplate, on April 16, and issued a violation for condensation dripping from an ice machine, according to city health department spokesman Michael Swartzberg.
City health officials found no violations during the most recent regularly scheduled inspection of the convention center on Feb. 27.
The state health department sent a survey to summit attendees on April 17. About 400 responded, with more than 100 people reporting symptoms. Health officials said there have been no reported hospitalizations or deaths.
Rita Foumia, corporate strategy director for BNP Media, which hosts the summit, said no similar occurrences were reported in the summit's 16-year history.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Reports: Actor Ford seriously injured in small-plane crash in L.A.
- Young white males replace older black men as OD victims as heroin deaths climb
- Weapon supply vulnerable to hackers, Pentagon official warns
- Lawmakers move to require schools to teach cursive amid Common Core wrangling
- Florida woman wields a shotgun in forcing son to jump from window
- McConnell punts on Iran review bill
- Feds weighed national standards but let North Dakota set regulations for oil trains’ safety
- Bullet-ridden dog tied to tracks saved in Florida
- Modified endoscope linked to deadly ‘superbug’ outbreak lacked FDA approval
- 1st suicide try likely last, says new study
- Business, conservative groups speak up for gay marriage as Supreme Court hearing nears