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Fayetteville hotel disputes state report on salmonella outbreak

Posted July 25, 2013

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— The management of the Holiday Inn Bordeaux in Fayetteville said Thursday they dispute the state’s finding that a restaurant at the hotel was the cause of a salmonella outbreak that sickened 100 people in May.

“While we respect the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services’ report and investigation, we do not agree with the speculative findings and conclusions contained within the report,” hotel manager Scooter Deal said in a statement. “The state was not able to determine the precise cause of the outbreak, and we are continuing our own investigation to ascertain any and all potential causes.”

The report, which was prepared by the state’s Division of Public Health and released Tuesday by the Cumberland County Health Department, said the All American Sports Bar & Grill was the source of the outbreak. A particular food item was not singled out, but health officials said employees who continued to work there while ill may have contributed to cross-contamination.

In his statement, Deal said employees are required to notify managers if they are sick, and none did.

“The restaurant would not allow an employee to continue working while ill, and the hotel has no knowledge or information to suggest that any employee continued to work while he or she was ill,” he said. “Most importantly, any potentially ill employees have not been determined to be the cause of the outbreak.”

According to the report, investigators conducted daily site visits to the hotel during the outbreak and noted multiple opportunities for salmonella contamination, including the absence of hand-washing supplies and water that was too cold to kill bacteria. They also found employees touching ready-to-eat food and a malfunctioning dishwasher.

Deal questioned the state’s claim that the dishwasher may have contributed to the problem, saying all 20 samples taken from the appliance tested negative for salmonella.

The state and county's investigation began May 13 after two people who ate at the hotel were diagnosed with the bacterial infection, which is transmitted through contaminated food or water or contact with an infected animal or person and can cause severe gastrointestinal distress.

A total of 100 cases were identified, with 25 confirmed and 75 listed as probable. Hotel staff accounted for 29 cases.

“The restaurant has been fully cooperative with the state throughout its investigation, and we have implemented any and all measures to provide the highest level of service to our customers,” Deal said. “We will continue to employ top-quality policies and procedures to ensure that all of our customers are receiving the upmost attention and service. The restaurant has also been in direct communication with patrons that have reported an illness to the restaurant, and it will continue to communicate with patrons about their specific circumstances in a responsible manner.”

19 Comments

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  • SFSOLDIER Jul 26, 2013

    Well, Scooter, I have to lean towards the State on this one, my friend. What do you expect out of Scooter in the first place? If he admits to this outbreak, then the restaurant gets sued. He will deny, deny, deny until the end...that is the way this game is played. Mean while, no one in that restaurant learns a thing from this incident and they continue to make people sick...

  • boolittlek Jul 25, 2013

    "Nothing screams credibility like a manager named 'Scooter.'"

    Interesting, didn't know that certain names were "not credible" for a Managers [sic] position. Way to judge a book by it's [sic] cover. I don't suppose you'll forget what the Holiday Inn Bordeax's [sic] Manager's name is any time soon.

    Actually, I judged him by his pathetic denial of the State's report, a denial motivated purely by self-interest rather than by a desire to protect the health and welfare of his customers or the general public.

    Once the legal actions against this establishment play out, I'm guessing I'll remember him as a former manager.

  • TomInWakeForest Jul 25, 2013

    jcthai: How do you know that DHHS has no evidence? Do you know if all the sick people ate there? Do you know if only a few of the sick people ate there? I get really tired of people reading a news column and then extrapolating to what they are CERTAIN are the facts. The truth is ... if you are not a DHHS investigator who is aware of all they know, then you don't know what you claim to know. Give it a chance to work itself out.

  • jcthai Jul 25, 2013

    I'm with the hotel on this one. DHHS has no evidence of the source of the contamination. So they pick on the restaurant, and hope the fixing a few violations will fix it. DHHS doesn't know what happened and they should say so.

  • diana123 Jul 25, 2013

    well of course they are disputing it. sheesh!
    and heck no i don't believe them. disgusting.

  • GravyPig Jul 25, 2013

    "Nothing screams credibility like a manager named 'Scooter.'"

    Interesting, didn't know that certain names were "not credible" for a Managers position. Way to judge a book by it's cover. I don't suppose you'll forget what the Holiday Inn Bordeax's Manager's name is any time soon.

  • Scubagirl Jul 25, 2013

    "Most kitchens and food prep areas are disgusting, get over it Ziva. Jim-Jones"

    None of the kitchens and food prep areas I've ever worked in have been disgusting either. Maybe you should change where you go

  • Oprahisthedevil Jul 25, 2013

    They need a new PR person. In cases like this you need to shut up and take your medicine. I've been involved with these type investigations and very rarely can you put your hand directly on the person or food that caused the outbreak. However using epi. methods you can figure out what happened. If the only common thing between the sick people is the restaurant, then someone or some food/drink at that restaurant caused the illnesses. What science is Scooter using?

  • buster102007 Jul 25, 2013

    If you people saw what happens in food prep areas of these places, you'd never eat another meal away from home again.
    Obamacare rules

    100% accurate, I have seen first hand 1000's of local restaurants complaint logs and know people in the Dept of Health. It is nasty what goes on. And fast food! forget about it. This clown at Holiday Inn will probably get fired. Too bad only locals really know what has happened there, out of towners know nothing and will still book rooms.

  • kikinc Jul 25, 2013

    "Most kitchens and food prep areas are disgusting, get over it Ziva."

    None of the restaurants I ever worked in had kitchens and prep areas that were disgusting. They were spotless. You're going to the wrong places.

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