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Camden restaurant closes after food poisoning investigation

(Camden) May 24, 2005 - The Old South restaurant was open for lunch on Tuesday and had a crowd despite its link to an outbreak of salmonella, a food bourne illness. Sharon Brewster works with Kershaw County EMS, "We all said today we always eat here anyway, why worry about it now."

Brewster is part of a trio of paramedics that feels Old South is still a safe place to eat.

Paramedic Vicki Watford helped treat some of the 50 people that went to area hospitals over the weekend, "It doesn't scare me, because I've eaten here before and nothing like this has ever happened. And I think it's an isolated incident and it won't happen again."

Missy Reeves with the Department of Health and Environmental Services says it was Old South's call to close its doors. So far, DHEC's inspections have deemed it safe, "They are checking for cleanliness, food preparation, temperatures."

DHEC has been back to the Old South restaurant throughout the day to inspect operations. During their visit, health officials offered up several recommendations for the restaurant including: Informing managers and employees about proper temperatures for storing food to prevent food bourne illnesses. DHEC also suggests managers and employees participate in a serve-safe program, a course that focuses on food handling and preparation.

Reeves says aside from the recent outbreak, Old South has a clean record when it comes to food safety.

Brewster says her experience was just as consistent after her meal, "The way I feel all the time when I eat here, I need to be wheeled out with a wheelbarrow. I'm full, I'm satisfied and the food was excellent."

17 people remain hospitalized for food poisoning symptoms. The food bourne illness may be the cause of one death. The Kershaw County coroner says test results could come in as early as Wednesday.

By Angie Goff

Posted 5:44pm by BrettWitt

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