Audrey Washington with WSB-TV reports that the Georgia Department of Agriculture is investigating the Fresh Market on Roswell Road in Buckhead following a Salmonella outbreak.

Officials said a number of people got sick.

On Monday, a former employee got an update from the Department of Public Health about the outbreak, which involved the deli department.

According to a whistleblower, the conditions were so bad that she told health authorities.

The employee asked not to be identified and didn’t want her face shown. But she said she first noticed unsanitary conditions at the store back in June.

“A customer got sick from our chicken salad,” she said. “Associates (were) going inside the deli with no hair nets. When they’re handling customer food, they’re not wearing gloves.”

She sent pictures of what she described as bacteria growing near prepared food.

“A lot of built-up bacteria and a lot of sludge,” she said.

She shared pictures of officials taking swabs of the deli area after several customers got sick.

“I like the chicken here,” customer Jackie Dockett said. ‘I thought it was safe to eat.”

Dockett said she last bought Fresh Market chicken salad in June, but she didn’t get sick. Still, she plans to stay away.

“No chicken salad today,” Dockett said.

In a statement, a Fresh Market representative wrote, in part,

“The Fresh Market is always committed to the safety and well-being of our guests and employees… The Georgia Department of Agriculture reviewed a small number of cases of illness reported earlier this year, and as part of our commitment to safety, quality and compliance, we voluntarily assisted them in their review and took steps to ensure the ongoing quality and safety of our food.”

After reaching out to the Department of Agriculture, Audrey Washington with WSB-TV was directed to the Department of Health.

In a statement, DPH officials wrote, in part:

“Between January 2023 and July 2023, there were fewer than 15 reported cases of Salmonella infections related to the Fresh Market at 4405 Roswell Road… Of the reported cases, about half of the individuals were hospitalized. There are no reported deaths. DPH has not received any reports of illness since July, however, the Department of Agriculture’s investigation at the market is ongoing.”

The whistleblower told Washington she was only trying to protect her customers.

“I think the safety of our customers comes first,” she said.

Officials with the Department of Agriculture say that they hope to complete their investigation soon.

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $850 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.  

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Additional Resources: