Sticky rice balls eyed in Kent food poisoning

May 14, 2012 9:13:54 AM PDT
A day of celebration ended terribly for more than 100 people who visited the Buddhist Garden Festival at the Chuang Yen Monestary in Putnam County Sunday.

Dozens of people remain in the hospital Monday with possible cases of food poisoning after a possibly tainted meal.

Now, health officials are looking into sticky rice balls as the possible source of the illness.

The outbreak was so severe that 150 victims were sent to four different hospitals in Putnam, Orange and Westchester counties. At least 700 people attended the Mother's Day celebration event in Kent, including 500 from Chinatown in New York City.

They took buses up for the day, and by mid-afternoon, they boarded the same buses to go shopping at Woodbury Commons. That when they were hit by diarrhea and vomiting.

Officials say the food was all vegetarian and was prepared by volunteers.

The situation quickly escalated.

One published report says authorities are looking into the sticky rice balls served at the festival to see if that's what made everyone sick.

The temple released a statement saying that "this is being investigated by event organizers who are cooperating with the local authorities."

Many of those hospitalized have since been released. ---
Get Eyewitness News Delivered

Facebook | Twitter | Newsletters | Text Alerts