Law enforcement and health investigators were trying to trace the source of a food-borne outbreak that sickened dozens of people who attended a Mother’s Day garden party and food fair at a Buddhist monastery in Carmel, New York, May 13. Sticky rice balls were suspected as a possible culprit, a Town of Kent police detective said May 14.
About 700 people, most of them arriving on tour buses from New York City, came to the annual event where dishes were prepared by volunteers, a spokeswoman for the Chuang Yen Monastery said. An official with the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services said about 150 people overall became sick and about 80 of those had boarded buses to go shopping at an outlet.
The detective said his department confirmed fewer than 30 sick, but he said the number could go as high as 150 or more. The Chuang Yen Monastery will be working with health officials on the investigation, the spokeswoman said. Though an estimated 100 people went to hospitals in 3 counties, there were no reports of patients who remained overnight.