Officials with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control are questioning a Conway man who prepared the food investigators believe sickened several people at an event last week at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
The man, whose name has not been released, is cooperating with the investigation, said DHEC spokesman Thom Berry.
When asked if DHEC is treating the incident as suspicious, Berry said, "We don't know yet."
"It does not appear to be anything with the convention center or [The Sheraton]," Berry said. "Everything was done outside of the convention center with the food preparation and delivery."
DHEC officials were expected to test specimens Monday that it received from several people who got sick Thursday night at an event honoring U.S. Rep. Henry Brown. More than 600 people attended the event.
Most of the people affected were suffering from diarrhea and lower gastrointestinal issues, Berry said. Neither Brown nor his wife, Billye, got sick after the event, according to Brown's spokeswoman Sharon Axson.
The results are not expected until at least Wednesday, Berry said.
"Hopefully, they will give us some sort of indication of what we're dealing with," Berry said. The menu consisted of quail, barbecue pork, cole slaw, baked beans, rolls and sweet tea, Berry said.
Chris Hayman of Myrtle Beach believes most of the people who got sick ate the baked beans. Hayman and his two sons - ages 9 and 12 - ate the beans and became ill that night. His two children had to leave school early Friday but were better that night, he said.
Hayman's wife did not eat the beans and was fine.
Hayman said other people who sat with his family at the event had similar stories.
Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes said Monday that he had baked beans and didn't get sick, but said Horry County Councilman Randall Wallace did get sick after eating the beans.
"I was one of the last ones to eat," Rhodes said. "Many of the people who got sick went down the right line. I went down the left line."
Axson didn't know if Brown or his wife ate the beans.
Berry said DHEC is unsure of how many people got sick. He said DHEC officials have been in contact with all of the local hospitals and emergency rooms, and that no one has reported illnesses linked to the dinner.