Spoiled food from the week-long summer power outages likely caused several people in New River Valley to become sick with salmonella.
Six cases of salmonella, all unrelated, were reported to the Virginia Department of Health, said New River Health District Director Dr. Molly O’Dell.
All the cases began during that infamous first week of July when thousands in the region were without power after the powerful derecho storm. And O’Dell said in each case the sick person was without power between five and eight days.
Improper food storage during and after the power outages was the only risk investigators could find for why the people became sick, O’Dell said, adding that most of the people “had erroneous thoughts about how long food was safe to eat” from a refrigerator or freezer that had lost power.
None had used dry ice.
“Some had put food in cooler on ice but did not check temperatures of how cool it was in cooler,” O’Dell said.
O’Dell said there is an important food safety lesson to be learned from the six cases.
Among those most often touted by public health officials: When in doubt, throw it out!