From a Times Staff Writer

Health investigators Wednesday scoured a
Pasadena church kitchen for clues to the cause of food poisoning suffered by about 100 diners at a recent luau.

     Among them was 81-year-old Mildred Mabb of Temple City , who died at a hospital a day after sampling several of the dishes at the Polynesian-style dinner hosted by the Pasadena Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

     However, physicians concluded after her death that Mabb also had intestinal cancer and pneumonia, said her son, Wayne Mabel, 48.  An autopsy confirmed the doctor’s findings.

     “She was fine when she got home, but everything went downhill quickly the following day,” he said.  “She ate everything everyone else ate.  Funny thing is, some people ate one things and got sick, while others ate the same things and didn’t

     Mabb was one of five diners who sought medical attention for symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea after the Sept. 16 dinner attended by about 1,300 people, said Mel Lim, environmental health manager at the Pasadena Public Health Department.

     The others were treated briefly for gastrointestinal illness and released, Lim said.

     “Some people ate only salad and got sick.  Some ate only rolls and got sick.  Most people ate everything and didn’t get sick,” said Randall Huff, president of the Pasadena stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

     “Sincere regrets were expressed to the Mabb family,” Huff said.

     In the meantime, Lin said, “We’re interviewing everyone who became ill to find out exactly what they ate.  Eventually, we will determine the cause of this problem.”

     He added that “we found the kitchen to be in pretty good shape, clean and in order.  One refrigerator, however, didn’t have the proper temperature.  It was a little on the warm side.”


Los Angeles Times October 5, 2000