On May 22, 2005, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) learned that several patrons of the Old South restaurant in Camden, South Carolina, had become ill with Salmonella infections. DHEC officials immediately began both epidemiologic and environmental investigations into the outbreak and quickly learned that food both catered from and served inside the restaurant had caused illness. Leftover food was sent to the Food Safety and Inspection Service lab in Athens, Georgia, for testing.
Information gathered by DHEC epidemiologists suggested that ill Old South patrons had eaten foods prepared at the restaurant between May 18 and May 22. Three case-control studies conducted by DHEC officials resulted in the discovery that roast turkey and biscuits were the source of the Salmonella outbreak. Laboratory results from the environmental investigation further implicated the roast turkey.
During the course of their investigation, DHEC investigators learned that the convection oven employees used to cook the contaminated turkey had malfunctioned, thus preventing the turkey from reaching a temperature sufficient to kill Salmonella.
DHEC ultimately identified 304 confirmed and suspected cases during the course of its investigation, and one man’s death was attributed to his Salmonella infection.
Marler Clark represented 17 people who became ill with Salmonella infections after eating turkey prepared at Old South.