Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back to Bullock's, with Confidence

Nearly three months ago an unfortunate, and now seemingly unavoidable, incident thrust one of Durham's landmark restaurants, Bullock's BBQ, into the national spotlight as people fell ill. The restaurant's food emerged as a likely culprit. A report released last week essentially clears Bullock's of responsibility in the incident.

An ensuing investigation by the Durham County Health Department and three additional state agencies was concluded on Friday and the final determination is that the most likely cause was a pasteurized egg white product that Bullock's purchased from a commercial food service provider. Other cases of illness were reported around the country by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and similar investigations nationwide pointed to this same product.

According to food safety blogger Ben Chapman, "Bullock's BBQ did the right risk management step purchasing a pasteurized egg product to be used for a raw egg containing dish and couldn't avoid illnesses, because these things happen and there is never a guarantee of 100% risk-free." That product was used to make meringue toppings for desserts and all products in question at the time were discarded.

"Restaurants like Bullock's and owners like Tommy [Bullock] are so important to a destination's unique sense of place," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. "We know that many Bullock's customers have already come back and believe this news will help other people see that this was an unfortunate and unavoidable occurrence that should not prevent them from patronizing this Durham institution."

Operating for over 58 years, the restaurant has been in business longer than any in the history of Durham. As Chapman notes, playing by all the rules can't guarantee 100% food safety – issues can slip past the safety net no matter how vigilant the restaurateur. Nationally recognized and celebrated repeatedly, Bullock's can hopefully use this exoneration to move forward and close a challenging chapter in an otherwise stellar run.

Here's hoping that Durham's diners can do the same...'cue anyone?

No comments:

Post a Comment