WSB-TV’s Audrey Washington reports that the Georgia Department of Agriculture is investigating the Fresh Market on Roswell Road in Buckhead following a salmonella outbreak.
Officials said several people became ill.
On Monday, a former employee received an update from the Department of Health about the outbreak involving the deli department.
According to one whistleblower, conditions were so bad that she reported it to health authorities.
The employee asked not to be named and did not want her face shown. But she said she first noticed unsanitary conditions at the store back in June.
“One customer got sick from our chicken salad,” she said. “Employees went into the deli without hairnets. When they handle customers’ food, they don’t wear gloves.”
She sent pictures of what she described as bacteria growing near prepared food.
“Lots of built-up bacteria and a lot of mud,” she said.
She shared images of officers conducting swab checks in the deli area after several customers became ill.
“I like the chicken here,” said customer Jackie Dockett. “I thought it was safe to eat.”
Dockett said she last bought chicken salad from Fresh Market in June but didn’t get sick. Still, she wants to stay away.
“There’s no chicken salad today,” Dockett said.
In a statement, a Fresh Market representative wrote, in part:
“The Fresh Market is always committed to the safety and well-being of our guests and employees… The Georgia Department of Agriculture has reviewed a small number of cases of illness reported earlier this year as part of our commitment to safety, quality and compliance “We did so voluntarily assisted in their review and took measures to ensure the ongoing quality and safety of our food.”
After contacting the Department of Agriculture, WSB-TV’s Audrey Washington was referred to the Department of Health.
In a statement, DPH officials wrote, among other things:
“Between January 2023 and July 2023, fewer than 15 cases of salmonella infections were reported associated with the Fresh Market at 4405 Roswell Road…Of the reported cases, approximately half of the individuals were hospitalized. There are no reported deaths. DPH has not received any reports of illness since July, but the Department of Agriculture’s investigation into the market is ongoing.”
The whistleblower told Washington she was just trying to protect her customers.
“I think the safety of our customers comes first,” she said.
Agriculture Department officials hope to complete their investigation soon.
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