SHEFFIELD — The caterer involved in a 2014 event in Decatur after which 19 people reported becoming ill also prepared food for an event this weekend in the Shoals that is being investigated for food-borne illness, according to people who attended the Shoals event.
A woman who became sick after attending a wedding reception Saturday night at a Sheffield hotel and an attorney representing patients who became sick after the event both said Indelible Catering and Darvin McDaniel provided food for the event.
Attempts to contact McDaniel today were unsuccessful.
The Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed today it is investigating the food-borne illness outbreak after several people who attended the reception were hospitalized with severe symptoms.
McDaniel, who was then living in Moulton, and Indelible Catering also provided the main food for a May 30, 2014, luncheon in Decatur that was part of an Alabama Cooperative Extension Service conference for senior citizens. Health officials said that luncheon was associated with — but may not have caused — gastrointestinal illnesses, according to documents provided later by the extension service.
Patients who attended the Shoals wedding reception have reported vomiting, diarrhea, fever and severe abdominal pains after eating at the event.
Karen Landers, assistant state health officer, said today the state health department has been investigating since Monday reports of food-related illness in the Shoals.
She said she has four samples taken from patients awaiting laboratory results and food specimens to be tested related to the outbreak.
Landers would not name the catering company involved, citing an ongoing investigation, but said the state health department's protocol is being followed to "mitigate any ongoing food preparation" by the company.
Jasma Edwards, who became sick early Sunday morning after attending the family wedding reception, identified the wedding caterer as Indelible Catering, operated by McDaniel.
She said she was treated Tuesday in the Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital emergency room in Florence for food poisoning.
Attorney Jon McGee, who is representing several of the reception's sickened guests, said his clients have also identified the caterer as Indelible Catering.
Weeks after the 2014 luncheon where McDaniel provided the main food, health officials said food not provided by McDaniel also was available at the event. The officials said they didn’t have food samples to test after those illnesses were reported and couldn’t say if any food prepared by the caterer was linked to the 2014 illnesses.
"At this point, the only thing we can say is that there appears to be an association between the illnesses and the event," Alabama Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist Dr. Mary McIntyre said in July 2014.
The May 30, 2014, luncheon was held at Bridge Builders International Church on Beltline Road. After the event, 19 people who attended the luncheon informed the Alabama Department of Public Health they had gastrointestinal illnesses.
Clarence Hampton, 71, died six days after the event.
According to the health department, two of the 19 tested positive for E. coli and others tested positive for salmonella.
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