05/04/2012 04:52 EDT | Updated 07/04/2012 05:12 EDT

Malpeque, P.E.I. Illness: Roast Beef Most Likely Culprit, Making More Than 200 Sick

CHARLOTTETOWN - Health officials in P.E.I. say roast beef sold as part of a church fundraiser in Malpeque is the most likely source of an illness affecting more than 200 people.

The chief public health office says 205 cases of the gastrointestinal illness have been reported since the 500 meals were distributed April 28 at Princetown United Church.

People complained of diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea after eating the dinner, which also included vegetables, a roll and desserts.

Dr. Lamont Sweet, deputy chief public health officer, said this week that many people were ill for only a few hours.

Officials are still awaiting the results of food testing, but say they believe the roast beef likely caused the sickness after interviewing people who ate the meals.

In a release, the government says the roast beef was prepared at a number of sites, including the homes of volunteers, before it was sold.

The government says high-risk food such as meat must be cooked in a facility that's been licenced by the Health Department before it is sold to the public.