Customers hospitalised after salmonella outbreak


fooddTHREE people are in hospital and more than a dozen others are sick after 17 confirmed cases of salmonella linked to sandwiches, wraps, rolls and focaccias purchased from the Gawler South Bakery.

The bakery is continuing to trade but has stopped serving several sandwich-type products containing chicken and other fillings, and is co-operating with SA Health investigators.

SA Health officials say the outbreak is a reminder of the importance of safe food handling.

SA Health Director of Public Health Dr Kevin Buckett said in the past fortnight there had been 17 confirmed cases linked to products sold at the bakery.

“Of these confirmed cases, three patients have been so severely ill they needed to be hospitalised,” Dr Buckett said.

“This is particularly concerning because salmonella makes people extremely sick and, like most cases of foodborne illness, is preventable through good hygiene and safe food-handling practices.

“Gawler South Bakery is co-operating with SA Health and is continuing to trade, however it has ceased serving several sandwich-type products containing chicken and other fillings.

“SA Health, in conjunction with the local council and the business, is investigating its food practices and will continue inspections of their sites.”

The bakery management released a statement apologising for the outbreak.

“It has come to our attention that a number of people have fallen ill with salmonella poisoning after consuming fresh roast chicken meals from our bakery recently,” it says.

“It is with sincere compassion and genuine sorrow that we apologise to all the people and their families affected by this.

“We are working closely with Health SA to investigate the source of this event and to rectify. “We have voluntarily shut down our salad bar and will go through all the necessary steps to ensure safety of our patrons.

“We hope this apology is received to be genuine and in good faith.

“We would also like to ensure our customers that this does not affect any of our baked products or cream products.

“Thank you to all our customers for the last 50 years. We extremely appreciate your understanding.”

Dr Buckett said it was important for food businesses and people preparing food at home to understand food safety, especially this busy, warm time of year.

“We urge food handlers to follow these four basic food safety tips: cook food thoroughly; clean hands and surfaces that come into contact with food; chill cooked food quickly and keep it cool until eaten; and separate raw and uncooked food from cooked and ready-to-eat products,” he said.

Salmonella infection usually results from ingestion of the bacteria from contaminated food, water or hands.

Eggs, meat and poultry are particularly high risk foods. People can experience symptoms of salmonella infection between 12 and 72 hours after exposure and symptoms can last for three to seven days.

Symptoms include fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, headaches, stomach cramps and loss of appetite.

Anyone who develops these symptoms is advised to see their doctor, particularly young children, older people and pregnant women who are most at risk if they contract food poisoning.

It is especially important that if you have these symptoms, you do not prepare or handle food.

There have been 1414 salmonella cases reported to date this year, compared with 1561 for last year.