Those planning on grabbing some smoked meats in the barbecue-crazed town of Lexington, N.C., this week may want to steer clear of Tarheel Q. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the barbecue joint is linked with a Salmonella outbreak that has affected 216 people to date, including a 20-year-old woman who is 27 weeks pregnant. That number includes people from 15 North Carolina counties and five different states.
The connection was made after the North Carolina Department of Health tested samples from the restaurant's barbecue and a patient who had ingested its food, concluding both tested positive for Salmonella. Most of those who began experiencing symptoms dined at the restaurant between June 16 and June 21.
Not only did the restaurant have to close as a result, but it's now facing seven separate lawsuits from customers who allege they became ill after eating there. Ron Simon, of Texas-based law firm Ron Simon & Associates, has filed six lawsuits on behalf of its clients and states, "The injuries range from pretty serious to serious enough to be hospitalized for several days." Simon also confirmed plans to file more lawsuits in the near future.
Although the restaurant originally had plans to reopen on Sunday, it remained closed through Monday. While several diners were hospitalized, there have been no deaths in connection to the outbreak. The trouble comes a few weeks after a popular Charlotte restaurant was linked to several sick diners.