Contamination: Confusion

By Zane P. Harris

Transcript of the Madison Upper Food Poisoning and Chester Fishler Forum


Parties present:

Yolanda Carrot, dean of campus dining

Bruce Ketta, executive chef at the Madison Upper branch of Good Eats

Tina Gerine, Sustainable Madison Upper Garden (SMUG) faculty supervisor

Serena Summers, student gardener at SMUG

Joanna Gutenberg, student editor of the Madisonian Campus Gazette

George Norton, student at Madison Upper University

Virginia Martinez, forum moderator


Forum called to order at 10:05 a.m., Oct. 21, 2015 by Ms. Martinez.


MARTINEZ: Welcome, everyone, to the Madison Upper Food Poisoning and Chester Fishler Forum. Before we begin, I’d like to thank our sponsor, without whom this forum could not have been organized on such short notice: the Grapeville Water Treatment Plant, providing fresh water to the Grapeville area at a great price.

Now, we have called this forum to discuss two pressing issues facing the Madison Upper community: the recent outbreak of food poisoning, which is thankfully behind us now, and the accidental death of Chester Fishler, a student here at Madison Upper who tragically passed away not too long ago.

MARTINEZ: Ms. Carrot, Mr. Ketta, as representatives of this school’s branch of Good Eats, do you have any comments you’d like to make on these issues?

CARROT: Yes, thank you, Ginny. Of course, we are all devastated by the loss of Mr. Fishler, a beloved member of the Madison Upper community. He will be sorely missed.

As I believe, it was found in the investigation that the food poisoning outbreak you mentioned was due to SMUG’s use of contaminated compost, and we have ended the problem by working with other produce suppliers.

KETTA: Well, only temporarily  —  once SMUG  —

CARROT: Yes, thank you, Bruce. As I was saying, we’ve  —

NORTON: Ended it? Hold on, no, people are still  —

MARTINEZ: Mr. Norton, please don’t interrupt.

CARROT: Thank you, Ginny. As I was saying, the problem really seems to have been solved.

MARTINEZ: Thank you. Now, Ms. Gerine and Ms. Summers, do you have anything you’d like to say?

GERINE: Thanks, Ms. Martinez. I don’t really think we have much to add. We are, of course, tremendously saddened by Chester’s death and have no idea how his body got into the compost pile. All of us at SMUG are trying our hardest to determine how this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

MARTINEZ: Thank you. Ms. Summers?

Thank you. Ms. Gutenberg, do you have anything you’d like to add before we take questions from the audience?

GUTENBERG: No, I think the issues have been addressed. I’d just like to say … I’m sorry, give me a moment.

I just want to say that we miss you, Chester. The Gazette won’t be the same without you.

MARTINEZ: Thank you, Ms. Gutenberg. We’ll now take questions from the audience.

NORTON: Ms. Martinez, wait, I haven’t  —

Pandemonium erupts in the audience.

After a few minutes, a person emerges from the chaos with his hand raised.

MARTINEZ: Yes, you there. And could we have your name for the transcript?

TEACH: Yes, I’m Victor Teach. Ms. Martinez, I’d like to know why people are still getting sick. Good Eats claims to have solved this problem, but we have more students stumbling into the nurse’s office every day. What’s going on?

CARROT: Victor, I don’t know where you’ve been hearing this, but that’s just wrong. No one is getting sick!

TEACH: Ms. Carrot, I am the nurse. I am unlikely to be mistaken about this.

KETTA: Well, be that as it may, Vick, we haven’t heard of any new cases. We have not been made aware of any new cases of food poisoning. In fact  —

CARROT: Yes, thank you Bruce, that’s right. I’m sorry, Victor, it sounds like there’s just been a little miscommunication. These new cases certainly are not due to our food. Could these students have been eating the contaminated food from SMUG outside of the dining hall?

GERINE: Now wait just a minute, Ms. Carrot. What are you trying to say? We at SMUG have taken all of the necessary precautions  —  nobody is eating any contaminated produce from our garden. We donated it all to the food bank as soon as Chester was found! And we haven’t set aside any of our recent harvests for eating. We’re just throwing it into the river until the contamination clears up!

MARTINEZ: Everybody, please! Let’s have order in this forum!

NORTON: Ms. Martinez, may I finally  —

CARROT: Stands up abruptly, looking ill, and rushes out of the room.

GERINE: Stands up abruptly, looking ill, and rushes out of the room.

MARTINEZ: Wait, wait, Tina! Yolanda! You can’t just run out like that!


Grimaces, looking ill, and rushes toward the exit. Aagh! What’s going on?


Forum adjourned at 10:33 a.m. by Ms. Martinez.