Salmonella in turkey identified as source of food poisoning at Toyo Tire
A holiday meal prepared by a caterer sickened hundreds of employees at the Toyo Tire plant in White, Georgia, causing some to go to the hospital for their illness. Angelo’s of Cartersville served the Thanksgiving meal to 1682 employees on November 14 and 15, 2017. Employees began experiencing gastrointestinal issues shortly after eating the meal, issues that were later confirmed as salmonella symptoms.
A total of 557 Toyo Tire employees became ill from the catered holiday meal, some with severe symptoms. Five people became so ill from the salmonella poisoning that they were hospitalized. Health officials investigating the incident found that turkey, gravy, corn, and macaroni and cheese were associated with the illnesses experienced by the employees.
Further investigation found that food safety issues may have contributed to the salmonella contamination of the catered holiday meal. Representative of Angelo’s New York Style Pizza and Bistro explained that, although they did cook the turkeys to the proper temperature, the turkeys were then left out to cool for up to two hours. The restaurant employees did not use a calibrated thermometer to check the proper cooking temperature or the temperature of the meat after it was cooled. They relied instead on checking to see if the turkey felt cool to the touch.
When the turkey was served, it was reheated. Although attempts were made at that time to check the proper temperature, it was later discovered that the thermometer was off by about five degrees. In addition, Angelo’s employees kept no temperature logs verifying any cooking, cooling, reheating, or holding temperatures.
Even though Toyo Tire employees reported eating other food items at the catered Thanksgiving meal, such as corn and macaroni and cheese, health department officials stated determined the turkey did not reach the proper temperature when being cooked initially or when being reheated. The investigators determined that the turkey was the likely source of the food poisoning, as salmonella contaminated often results from such improper food safety procedures.