209 people have fallen ill with Clostridium infection in an outbreak that occurred at a church dinner in Canada’s Prince Edward Island on April 28, according to the province’s Chief Public Health Office.
Public health officials have tested roast beef and gravy left over from the event and believe the Clostridium bacteria grew on the beef from being held at improper temperatures following cooking.
Most victims recover from Clostridium illness within 24 hours. Those infected with the bacteria are not contagious.
The Public Health Office reminded those who prepare foods for public events to review and adhere to proper food preparation, handling and temperature control requirements.
Last summer, the Minnesota state legislature passed a so-called “Church Lady Law,” a set of health standards for events such as church potlucks and bake sales, and has been successful in educating groups on how to cook safely for crowds.