Salmonellosis Outbreak at a Chili and Chowder Cook-Off — Virginia, 2017

  • We found that one particular chowder out of many chilis and chowders available at a large community cook-off made more than 170 people ill, both locally and in neighboring states.
  • Cook-off attendees shared information with us by phone, through online surveys, and even on social media. That information was vital to finding which food item caused this outbreak.
  • Preparing food for a large, temporary event like the cook-off is very different from day-to-day restaurant operation. At these events, even professional cooks can benefit from having environmental health specialists around during food preparation to make sure safe practices are followed and the health of event attendees is protected.
Quote from the Disease Detective

“This outbreak really highlighted the importance of food safety at such large, temporary events. If possible, event planners should require onsite food preparation or inspection so environmental health specialists can identify and correct any possible food safety issues to protect the health of event attendees. ”

–Kelly Shaw, PhD, EIS Officer Class of 2017

A container of clam chowder is set on a bed of oysters at Queen Sound Landing. A large outbreak of salmonellosis in early October 2017 was linked to chowder from a chili/chowder cook-off on the island. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Wright[PNG - 415 KB]

A container of clam chowder is set on a bed of oysters at Queen Sound Landing with the bridge to Chincoteague island visible in the background. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Wright

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Conference Information
Kelly Shaw, PhD, EIS Class of 2017


Kelly Shaw, PhD, EIS Class of 2017
Virginia Department of Health

Education: PhD: Emory University, 2017; BS: Michigan State University, 2011

Work Experience: Doctoral Student, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 2012-Present; Teaching Assistant, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 2013-2013; Undergraduate Research Assistant, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 2008-2010; Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Mississippi, University, MS, 2009-2009

Volunteer Experience: Volunteer, Little Creek Farm Conservancy, Decatur, Georgia, 2013-Present; Instructor, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Emory, Atlanta, Georgia, 2015-2016; Curious Corps Team Member, Atlanta Science Festival, Atlanta, Georgia, 2016-2016; Session Scribe, Biotechnology and the Ethical Imagination Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, 2015-2015