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Food poisoning sickens hundreds at Food Safety Summit; top food industry officials affected

By Antonia:(NaturalNews) In what some would say is an ironic moment if ever there was one, more than 100 people attending a Food Safety Summit have recently become ill from food poisoning, of all things.

The April 8-10, 2014, conference was held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland, drawing over 1,000 top food safety officials across the nation. Attendees included members of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and individuals from businesses like McDonald's and Tyson.

"A couple of our folks indicated that they had experienced symptoms associated with food poisoning after the summit," said Juli Putnam, an FDA spokeswoman.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene state health officials say they still don't know what caused the outbreak of gastroenteritis that left participants suffering symptoms that included diarrhea and nausea. Initially, at least four people came forward reporting symptoms within 12 hours of eating at the Summit on April 9, but in the weeks following, the number spiked and hundreds of attendees have since reported the same sick feelings.

Possible source food poisoning identified, investigation still ongoing

The possible source, or sources, of the contamination is still being assessed, but apparently one company raising health officials' eyebrows is Baltimore Convention Center's food service provider, Centerplate. A spokesperson says that, after inspection, it was determined that condensation was dripping from one of the two kitchen ice machines, and as a result, a violation was issued and the issue has been resolved.

"The Food Safety Summit has been an industry leading event for the past 16 years and the well-being of our customers which includes attendees, exhibitors, speakers and guests, is our top priority," reads a portion of the Food Safety Summit's website which addresses updates related to the food poisoning incident.

The next Food Safety Summit is slated to take place on April 28-30, 2015, at the Baltimore Convention Center. Topics from the 2014 Summit included "Food Safety Requirements for Foodservice Operators and Retailers" and "Food Allergen Control - Trends and Updates."

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