6 lawsuits filed against Tarheel Q; other customers show support

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Six lawsuits have now been filed against a Davidson County BBQ restaurant after it was linked to a salmonella outbreak.

The State Department of Health and Human Services says 197 people have reported salmonella-like symptoms after eating at Tarheel Q on Highway 64 West in Lexington.

A sign posted on the door last week said the owners planned to work on sanitation, regain the trust of customers and reopen Monday. But it was not open again as of 5 p.m. Monday.

No re-inspection required

The County Health Department tells FOX8 because the restaurant voluntarily closed, it will not have to be re-inspected to open back up.

Health Department spokesperson Jen Hames explained, “Our Environmental Health staff have been out to the restaurant a number of times last week. Our staff reviewed with his staff the proper way to clean, disinfect, wash hands, proper cooking temperatures, proper food preparation, etc.”

Hames said all restaurants in the county are inspected quarterly, so Tarheel Q will be inspected sometime between July 1-Sept. 30 as usual.

The specific source of the salmonella is still not known at this time, she added.

The state’s website said tests of BBQ and human samples were both Salmonella positive, and showed the same “DNA fingerprint.”

Six lawsuits filed

Attorney Ron Simon represents at least 30 people who say they got sick after eating at Tarheel Q in June.

“They should not open the restaurant until they figure out exactly how that happened. Because if they don’t, it’s going to happen again,” Simon told FOX8.

At least a dozen people have been hospitalized during this outbreak.

Support for Tarheel Q

The owner apologized to patrons in an interview with FOX8 last week.

Customers stopped by the restaurant all day Monday to show their support for the locally-owned business, planning to eat if it was open again.

“Things do happen,” said Tony Prevette. “When they get open back up, I’ll probably definitely come back and eat because it’s going to be one of the safest places to eat.”

Commenters on the restaurant’s Facebook page said contamination can happen at any restaurant or at home.

For more information from the CDC on preventing Salmonella infection, visit cdc.gov.