Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Goat slaughtered inside restaurant kitchen where the cook staff is Latino

WCNC:

Captain’s Galley, the Rowan County restaurant linked to an E. coli outbreak, has been shut down after health officials confirmed that a goat was slaughtered in the restaurant kitchen.

The Rowan County Health Department announced Monday they learned of the slaughter from an anonymous tip by a former employee, which was confirmed by management and ownership.

They’re not saying the slaughter is the exact cause of the E. coli outbreak, which sickened 20 people and killed one woman.

Rowan County Health Director Leonard Wood isn't sure what happened to the goat, if it was cooked or taken away. It was not served to customers.

It also is not the confirmed cause of the E. coli outbreak because there's no meat sample to test, he said.

"But it is certainly biologically plausible, that this exposure may have in fact been the source,” Wood said.

Officials say it happened in the kitchen sometime between May 11 and May 20, after the restaurant was closed for the night.

It is possible that kitchen utensils used to slaughter the goat may have been used later on in other food preparation, but that has not been confirmed.

The former employee who reported the incident worked at Captain’s Galley at the time of the slaughter, but is no longer employed there.

The restaurant management and their attorney did not protest the health department’s decision to shut them down. The owners say they are appalled by the acts of a few employees and have taken appropriate action against those employees.

Wood says the cook staff is Latino. A local goat farmer says they're a popular food source because one goat can feed a family for a month.

Maurice Mills was a Captain's Galley regular, having eaten there for the last eight or 10 years.

"Good food, plenty on the portions,” he said.

He had been waiting for it to re-open, but on Monday, the look on his face said it all.

"I wouldn't (eat there) now,” he said. “I wouldn't take my family up there. Man, that's hard to believe."

Health officials said eight cases of E. coli, a bacterial infection of the stomach and intestines, have been confirmed and another 12 are probable. Everyone who got sick ate at the restaurant between May 26 and June 3.

Faye Sides, 86, ate at the restaurant with family members after church on May 27, and she died last week. Both the health department and the owners of Captain’s Galley restaurant expressed their sympathies to the Sides’ family.

Health officials: Goat is probable culprit for E. Coli outbreak

Invaders Slaughter Goat, Woman Dies of E. Coli

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