While authorities investigate a salmonella outbreak stemming from a church barbecue in the western part of the state, health officials say these types of events aren't really regulated.
Vera Vaughn is an environmental health specialist with the Beaufort County Health Department. She says, "There's a general statute that allows not for profit organizations that are exempt from federal taxes to sell food for two consecutive days once a month -- so it's not regulated by anyone. We in Beaufort County have an application we ask folks to fill out -- so that we know what's going to happen, what food is going to be sold so if there were to be an outbreak -- we can try to trace it back to what food item may have been served or sold."
Vanessa Greene is a communicable disease nurse, and says people who attend these kinds of events can take measures to avoid the rare cases of sickness. She says, "I think if you just take some common steps -- you look at the food when it's served, if anything looks under cooked, if your hamburger looks pink, if your chicken doesn't look cooked, then send it back and ask it to be cooked until it's not raw any more."
Salmonella can cause diarrhea and vomiting and can be fatal in extreme cases.