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Food poisoning hospitalizes 7 wedding guests

23 others treated on site; food was prepared privately
By: Lien Hoang
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Seven people were hospitalized Saturday night after food served at a wedding poisoned at least 30 guests, according to the Roseville Fire Department. Firefighters responded around 8:45 p.m. to a Roseville church where guests were experiencing symptoms that included nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, Fire Department spokeswoman Vonette McCauley said. Most were treated on scene, but four were sent to Sutter Roseville Medical Center and three to Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center. The source of the poisoning is unknown, but the Placer County Community Health Department is now investigating food samples. Jill Pahl, director of the county’s Environmental Health Department, said she’ll have to wait to see what Community Health finds, because the food was prepared privately, not by a caterer. “It’ll be a few days if we can even find a smoking gun,” Pahl said. The most common cause of food poisoning is a toxin from bacteria that is allowed to grow on food, said Community Health director Mark Starr. His department is collecting information on the menu and guest list, comparing people who got sick with those who didn’t. “It’s kind of a little detective thing,” Starr said. He added that Community Health investigates such outbreaks a couple times a year. The wedding reception took place at Light of the Gospel, a Russian Orthodox missionary church at 850 Cirby Way. No one at the church answered the phone as of press time, but Pahl and Starr said it was only involved in renting out the hall. Pahl noted that food should be kept either below 45 degrees Fahrenheit or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, particularly when feeding a crowd. “Since the food was prepared in a home, the temperature controls may not have been there,” she said. “That’s really important in large events like that.” Starr also reminded the public to cook food properly and thoroughly, refrigerate leftovers promptly and maintain common-sense sanitary habits. In other words, he said, “All the things your mother taught you.” Lien Hoang can be reached at lienh@goldcountrymedia.com.