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Officials: Eggs, not employees caused illnesses at Durham restaurant

Posted July 16, 2010

— Salmonella bacteria in a commercial product, not improper food handling, caused an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among Bullock's Barbecue customers in April, the Durham County Health Department said Friday.

Sixty-five people were sickened in the outbreak, and at least seven had to be hospitalized for dehydration because of vomiting and diarrhea.

Initial tests found Salmonella bacteria in foods containing egg, and further investigation determined the likely source of the outbreak was bacteria in a commercially made egg white product the restaurant used to make meringue.

The health department found no violations of food handling practices at Bullock's, a Durham institution that serves walk-in customers and has a booming catering business.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted similar outbreaks across the country linked to pasteurized egg whites sold by the same supplier and made at the same plant as the products delivered to Bullock's officials said.

Tests conducted by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and other labs couldn't conclusively prove that the product was contaminated with Salmonella.

Bullock's immediately disposed of potentially affected desserts and other foods, officials said.


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  • DontAnnoyMe Jul 16, 2010

    @rebelyell - exactly how would knowing the supplier be providing a service to the community? Especially 2-3 months after the fact? Do you ask at every store and restaurant where their stuff comes from? Pfffffffft.

    @twc - your paranoia is getting a bit out of hand.

  • misterprecedent Jul 16, 2010

    "labs couldn't conclusively prove that the product was contaminated with Salmonella."

    To name the supplier without proof that the company was actually at fault could cause hysteria and unfairly destroy its business. If it's a restaurant food supplier, and the companies who use the suspicious products are alerted to the potential problem, then they can get rid of any existing product that might be contaminated. That should solve any problems.

  • twc Jul 16, 2010

    Rebelyell, exactly!! Without the name of the supplier this story sounds like a cover up!

  • twc Jul 16, 2010

    Rebelyell, exactly!! Without the name of that supplier, one has a tendency not the believe the story.

  • Man Of Valour Jul 16, 2010


  • bindimon Jul 16, 2010

    use local products. it doesn't stop all food problems but it limits them

  • Rebelyell Jul 16, 2010

    and....WHO IS THE SUPPLIER, WHAT IS THE BRAND????? (information that would COMPLETE the story and provide a service to the community)!!!!
    I agree, too much whitewashing here, give us the facts. When you don't, it looks like more of the old smoke and mirrors you are famous for

  • Justin T. Jul 16, 2010

    The most common illness in Durham is lead poisoning, so always remember to don your bullet proof vest.

  • amyjohnson595 Jul 16, 2010

    I actually heard from an employee of bullocks, the cause of the sickness was because the people that got the food left it in the back of a pickup truck for hours in the hot sun, before serving it.

  • Boogalooboy Jul 16, 2010