December 19, 2002
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Food poisoning linked to Young’s

The Clark County Combined Health District is currently investigating a cluster of food poisoning incidents that may be related to Young’s Jersey Dairy.

Eight cases of salmonella poisoning have been confirmed in six area counties, all linked by contact with Young’s, Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said Tuesday. The Health District has asked Young’s to pull from store shelves unpasteurized milk products, which are a potential contaminant source.

Epidemiologists and health inspectors have been working with Young’s since last Wednesday, Dec. 11, “to ensure the safety of the customers,” Patterson said.

“There are potential cases linked to here, but we haven’t found anything to show that for sure yet,” restaurant owner Dan Young said. “The safety of our guests is our No. 1 concern, and we are doing everything we can to help eliminate the possibilities.”

Young’s removed all unpasteurized milk from the shelves last Friday, Dec. 13. The milk will not be restocked until an unspecified date, as a precautionary measure, Young said. Health officials are testing all of the milk and ice cream products people take home from Young’s and each of the restaurant’s employees for contamination.

Young’s has taken food samples for some of its own testing, and so far everything has come back negative, Young said.

Evidence shows the outbreak may have been caused by a contaminated food handler, but definitive lab results will not be available until the end of the week. State epidemiology reports show that those infected had eaten at Young’s sometime between Nov. 29 and Dec. 9, Patterson said.

Two of Young’s food handlers, one from the ice cream snack bar building and one from the Golden Jersey Inn, tested positive for salmonella contamination, Patterson said.

The eight cases have been reported in Greene, Clark, Butler, Madison, Montgomery and Shelby counties. The initial lab case came from Children’s Medical Center in Dayton.

The Health District is investigating another possible 20 related cases by using a pulse field gel test to find out if the salmonella from each case is of the same serotype.

Young’s, which has been in the food service business for 50 years, has never had a problem before, Young said. The business attracts over a million visitors each year, and employs more than 200 people.

According to the Health District, the onset of salmonella food poisoning symptoms takes place 6 to 72 hours after coming into contact with the bacteria. Symptoms can last several days and include abdominal pain, diarrhea, chills, fever, nausea, vomiting and malaise.

—Lauren Heaton