BLOOMFIELD — What was supposed to be a happy celebration last Thursday turned into an uncomfortable situation for dozens of county employees.
Nearly half of the roughly 300 county employees who attended a potluck last week at the County Administration Building became sick later that day, officials said, and the suspected cause is a poorly prepared turkey.
Officials believe the sick employees had minor cases of diarrhea; however, there were no reports of anyone visiting a doctor or hospital.
"This really is a minor issue," Deputy County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter said.
It is unclear if any employees took a sick day Friday, but officials estimate most returned to work, suffering only from mild symptoms.
"It's unfortunate that it happened, but I guess everybody, as far as I know, was able to recoup and overcome whatever it was," County Commission Chairman James Henderson said.
The turkeys all were prepared at home by volunteers, but officials plan to change to a safer option for future events.
"In the future, the turkeys that we cook for our meal will be done at the correctional facility," Carpenter said.
The San Juan County Adult Detention Center prepares meals for hundreds of inmates and annual events, such as the annual Salvation Army Thanksgiving meal.
It is unclear what caused the illness, but officials believe it may be undercooked turkey.
"I think the real issue is basically seeing that your food is cooked," Carpenter said.
The United States Department of Agriculture offers tips for preparing turkeys on it's Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/Lets_Talk_Turkey/index.asp
Brendan Giusti: email@example.com