Media Center

logoSeptember 25, 2014

The Food Safety Summit received a comprehensive and detailed investigation report from the Office of Infectious Disease and Outbreak Response at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) stating the case findings and exposure assessment from the illness outbreak at the 2014 Food Safety Summit which took place at the Baltimore Convention Center April 8-10, 2014. The DHMH conducted a retrospective cohort study of conference attendees to develop a hypothesis about what caused the outbreak. Their investigation methods included an epidemiologic investigation, environmental investigation and laboratory analyses.

The findings, as generally stated in the report, indicated that through internet and phone interviews, 669 viable respondents were identified. Of the 669, 604 responses were used in the analysis and 65 responses were excluded from the analysis. Of the 604 confirmed responses that were used in the investigation analysis, 216 were confirmed afflicted cases 338 were well cases. The 216 afflicted cases reported diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, headaches, chills, vomiting and fever during the period of April 8-12, 2014. Through discussions and extensive interviews with those affected, the pan seared breast of Chicken Marsala was the food item most commonly consumed by afflicted cases, with 146 of all 216 (67.6%) cases consuming it and 146 of the 157 (93.0%) cases who ate lunch on Wednesday April 9.

The Food Safety Summit has been an industry leading event for the past 16 years and has never had an incident like this happen before. Of course, the well-being of our customers, attendees, exhibitors, speakers and guests has always been our top priority. When we learned that attendees to the Food Safety Summit were ill after attending the 2014 event we fully cooperated with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regarding this matter and assisted them with their investigation as requested. We have continued to do so in the past six months while the investigation was conducted and the final report was being prepared.

After months of waiting we now have the final report in hand. We will be conducting further report analysis and taking the necessary steps working directly with the Baltimore Convention Center and their exclusive caterer Centerplate, as well as the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to insure that an outbreak of this nature does not happen again. We will be working very closely with these partners, using any means necessary, to ensure that all steps and procedures regarding the prep and serve foodservice process before and during the 2015 Food Safety Summit will be done with active managerial control experts in the kitchens and serving areas. A detailed outline of the program will be posted to our website in late fall.

If you have specific questions on this matter please contact:

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Communications
Karen Black or Christopher Garrett, PH: 410-767-6490
Centerplate
Bob Pascal, Chief Marketing Office, PH: 203-975-5943
The Baltimore Convention Center
Peggy Daidakis, Executive Director, PH: 410-649-7000
Food Safety Summit
Amy Riemer, Media Relations, PH: 978-475-4441

Resources:

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Summary Report
Internet Survey to 2014 Attendees
Internet Survey Letter to 2014 Attendees
Internet Survey Redacted Letter
http://dhmh.maryland.gov