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Salmonella cases traced to Wal-Mart

Diana Penner, Indianapolis Star

August 29, 2006

Indiana state health officials have pinpointed the deli and bakery departments of a Greenwood Wal-Mart as the source of a salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 84 people this summer.

Although a few more cases of the bacterial infection might emerge as people develop symptoms, the affected areas of the Wal-Mart, 1133 N. Emerson Ave., have been sanitized, and shoppers should not be worried about additional contamination, health officials said.

"We believe food handlers who didn't have any symptoms may have contaminated the deli and bakery products," Lynae Granzow, enteric epidemiologist with the Indiana State Department of Health, said in a written statement.

Overnight from Friday to Saturday, an outside contractor performed a "deep cleaning" on the area, said Mia Masten, director of corporate affairs for Wal-Mart's Midwest division. In addition, all prepared foods were discarded, Masten said.

"First and foremost, the safety of our customers is our priority," Masten said, adding that the store has cooperated fully with state health officials.

Wal-Mart employees are fully trained in health and safety precautions, including hand washing, but "we are reminding our associates of those protocols," Masten said.

The state health department was contacted July 11 by the Marion County Health Department about an increase in salmonella cases, beginning in May. As of Monday, 84 cases had been reported.

The health department recommends that any ready-to-eat items purchased at the deli and bakery area of the Emerson Avenue Wal-Mart be discarded or returned to the store for a refund.

Call Star reporter Diana Penner at (317) 444-6249.

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