Roasting of whole pigs for summer picnics is popular, but technically difficult. We report an outbreak of gastroenteritis which followed a pig roast in Colorado. Twenty (35%) of 57 guests who had attended the roast had nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, or fever. An investigation implicated pork as the vehicle of transmission (p = 0.003, Fisher exact test). The 11 stool specimens tested were not cultured anaerobically, but the illness was strongly suggestive of Clostridium perfringens gastroenteritis. An environmental investigation revealed deficiencies in both storage and cooking of the commercially prepared pig. To prevent foodborne outbreaks of illness resulting from whole pig roasts, suppliers should caution customers about adequate cooking processes, customers should be aware of refrigeration requirements if the animal is to be stored before cooking, meat thermometers should be used to monitor internal cooking temperatures, other food should not be cooked inside the pig carcass during roasting, and leftover meat should be promptly cooled for later consumption.
1Current address: Behavioral Epidemiology and Evaluation Branch, Division of Health Education, Center for Health Promotion and Education, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA 30333.
2Division of Field Services, CDC.
3Environmental Health Division, Englewood, CO.
4Enteric Diseases Branch, CDC.