An Investigation on a Food Poisoning Outbreak Linked to a Catering Lunch Served in Three High Schools, New Taipei City, 2019

DOI: 10.6525/TEB.202309_39(17).0001

Donald Dah-Shyong Jiang1*, Yu-Ju Chen2, Zi-Yi Chiu2, Siang-Ti Yao2

2023 Vol.39 NO.17

Correspondence Author: Donald Dah-Shyong Jiang1*

  • 1Department of Health Promotion and Health Education, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan 
  • 2Food and Drug Management Division, Department of Health, New Taipei City Government, Taiwan


        On September 11, 2019, a food poisoning outbreak occurred in three high schools in New Taipei City after students consumed a catering lunch supplied by catering company X. Results of the retrospective cohort investigation showed a total of 103 students, who consumed the lunch, met the case definition, indicating an attack rate of 20.4% (103/504). The main symptoms comprised abdominal pain and diarrhea. The median incubation period was 16 hours, with a range of < 1 to 24 hours. An analysis of the lunch dishes determined the KungPao drumsticks as the food item responsible for the food poisoning outbreak (adjusted relative risk: 3.69; 95% confidence interval: 1.41–9.65). Stool samples from four ill students were found positive for the causative pathogen, Clostridium perfringens, and its toxin gene cpa and enterotoxin cpe. To avoid any recurrence of Clostridium perfringens-induced food poisoning from the KungPao drumsticks, the catering company should cook the dish at a temperature of 74°C or above and keep the food warm at least at 60°C afterwards. The food should also be consumed as soon as possible within 2–4 hours after cooking.