April 4, 2020

Source of Kent County Jail Food Poisoning Outbreak Confirmed

According to Lisa LaPlante, Communications and Marketing Manager of the Kent County Department of Health, the source of the April 15, 2012 food poisoning outbreak at the Kent County Jail has been discovered.

Jail Prison BarsLaboratory tests have revealed that there was Clostridium perfringens, a spore-producing bacteria, in a rice and cheese product. The food was prepared, chilled, and then reheated and served to the inmates.

Bacterial spores in food are a real problem in the food service industry. The first cooking of any product that is going to be reheated rarely destroys spores. The spores then germinate and grow in the warm food and produce a toxin, especially when the food has been improperly stored or held at temperatures that are too low. Casseroles, stews, and gravies are especially prone to carrying this type of foodborne illness.

All 250 inmates who were sickened have recovered. No one was hospitalized during this outbreak. Other food samples have been sent to the lab for testing because this was such a large outbreak. Officials expect it will be another month or two before the investigation is complete.

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