Laboratory results from DHEC documented the presence of Salmonella enteritidis in roasted turkey that had been eaten at an event catered by Old South, and during the course of a DHEC investigation, Old South employees discovered that the convection oven they had used to cook the contaminated turkey had malfunctioned, thus preventing the turkey from reaching a temperature sufficient to kill Salmonella. More specifically, two of the oven’s three heating elements were inoperable during the outbreak exposure period, leaving only one element to warm the oven. Nonetheless, and by design, the green indicator light on the oven’s control panel remained lit, thus preventing Old South employees from learning of the malfunction.
A total of 304 confirmed and suspected cases were identified during the course of the investigation, and one man died as a result of his infection. The restaurant remained closed during the investigation, re-opening on June 10, after employees had completed food safety training.