Thursday, February 17, 2011

Canberra and Salmonella

INVADER: A colour-enhanced scanning electron micrograph
showing Salmonella typhimurium invading cultured human cells.

Its enough to make you sick! Salmonellosis, an infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella can cause patients to become seriously ill with symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fever, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Australian Medical Association vice-president Steve Hambleton said Salmonella could cause patients to become extremely ill. ''It's one of the invasive organisms that can cause you bloody diarrhoea and a high temperature and make you systemically unwell,'' Dr Hambleton said. People became ill after swallowing the bacteria after eating inadequately prepared food or via contact with faeces of a person who has been infected. Dehydration could be a complication in young children and the elderly and occasionally the infection spreads to the bloodstream or other parts of the body.

As the ACT Government considers ''naming and shaming'' restaurants and other food businesses which breach food safety standards, it has been revealed there have already been 31 notified cases of salmonella in the ACT this year.

Salmonella infections (usually linked to poor food hygiene) reports in the ACT * [i.e. "Canberra", the National Capital]:
  • 2010 there were 217 
  • 2009 there were 221 cases
  • 2008 there were 131 cases
  • Back in 2000 there were 101 cases.
It is a staggering increase considering just 18 ACT cases were notified in 1991. It is not known what proportion of infections were linked to restaurant food.
(* Actual infection rates are believed to be much higher this year because many cases are never officially notified to authorities.)

Unlike other Australian jurisdictions, which publish online registers of businesses which fail hygiene standards, the ACT does not name offending eateries.

ACT Health Minister Katy Gallagher said this week the Government was considering "... the most effective method for publicly naming food businesses which failed to comply with food safety standards. ..."! Come on Ms Gallagher - just name them!  That's the most effective way of getting compliance - that and shutting down repeat offenders!

Acting ACT chief health officer Paul Kelly said it was not clear why infection rates had risen in recent years.

Durrr!  Try poor hygiene, pest infestation, and spoilt food being allowed to be prepared and served Dr Kelly.

Not good enough!  We are not a third world country and restaurant and other food establishents/manufacturers need to recognise that fact!  Hit them hard Ms Gallagher!

1 comment:

Sharon said...

A lot of our places to eat - in major cities - are on the tv when they don't pass the inspections. Wish we had the funds to check every eatery!