LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - The Aging Foundation of Athens-Limestone County released a statement in connection with a salmonella outbreak at event they hosted at the beginning of October.
According to health officials, dozens of cases of salmonella were confirmed after a Bean Day lunch held on Oct. 4th. The event was a fundraiser that benefited Limestone County senior centers. At least 13 people were hospitalized, according to the Athens-Limestone Hospital.
According to the Aging Foundation, all meals at the lunch were prepared by volunteers and several volunteers became ill after getting their own tickets and eating a meal.
The foundation said they will continue to cooperate with the health department in the ongoing investigation into the outbreak.
Statement from the Board of Directors of the Aging Foundation of Athens-Limestone County:
The Aging Foundation of Athens Limestone County has the last several years sponsored the Bean Day event the first Friday in October. This event is put on by the Foundation in order to raise money to benefit not only the senior centers of Limestone County, but also other organizations that are less able to raise money for their own causes. The foundation is a charitable organization and has obtained tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.
Many people became ill following the Bean Day on October 4, 2013. The Foundation immediately cooperated with local health officials and the Alabama State Department of Health. We had been previously asked by the Health Department to not release any information regarding the source of any illness, hence the delay in the releasing of this statement. On October 16, 2013, the Department of Health informed the Foundation that it is their opinion that the recent illnesses were caused by salmonella in the beans. It is still not known when or how the beans became contaminated, being prior to their receipt, or if they became contaminated during the preparation process, or during serving. We have been told that an official report will not be available for 4 to 6 weeks. The answer may never be known according to the Department of Health.
All of the meals, as in the past, were prepared by volunteers. Many of the supplies for the event were donated by various institutions in a community-wide attempt to help those less fortunate. The people who took part in the event by purchasing tickets were helping us help the community. The foundation is sincerely sorry that anyone became ill. We consider all of those that came to the event to be our friends and supporters. Many of our own volunteers became ill after purchasing their own tickets and eating the meal. We are very thankful and appreciative of all of the expressions of goodwill and concern given to us by community members, including many of those that became ill. We will continue to cooperate with the Department of Health in whatever investigation is ongoing.