The results of extensive testing of food from the Langham Hotel have shown raw egg mayonnaise used in foods, including chicken sandwiches, was responsible for salmonella poisoning in more than 40 people last month.
Victoria’s acting Chief Health Officer Professor Michael Ackland said the findings reinforced the need for stringent food safety processes to be followed at all times, in both home and commercial settings.
“Salmonella infection can be a very serious illness, particularly for infants, the elderly, pregnant women and people with reduced immunity,” Professor Ackland said.
The Department of Health and Human Services began an investigation of food served at the hotel of the weekend of 11 and 12 July after a number of people reported illness. Of the 90 people who reported illness, 16 were hospitalised.
“Through our investigations, we found that the mayonnaise contained the same strain of Salmonella found in the confirmed cases,” Professor Ackland said,
“Our findings have been relayed to The Langham and the City of Melbourne, who are continuing to work with the hotel.”
Professor Ackland said this is a timely reminder for all registered restaurants, cafes, caterers and bed breakfast operators in Victoria to follow advice on how to reduce the risk of Salmonella infections, as well as all households.
“The correct storage, handling and preparation of eggs is vital,” Prof Ackland said.
Recently increased numbers of Salmonella outbreaks have been associated with foods containing raw or lightly cooked eggs. Similar trends have also been seen in other parts of Australia.
“We want to ensure that eggs, which are a highly nutritious and enjoyable food, are handled as safely as possible.
“Eggs should be handled with the same care as other raw foods, such as meat and poultry,” Prof Ackland said.
Businesses and households should only purchase or accept clean, uncracked eggs that are supplied in clean packaging, labelled with details of the supplier, batch number identification and a best before date.
Eggs should be stored whole in the carton in the refrigerator, and foods made with raw eggs should always refrigerated. Best before dates should be checked regularly and eggs discarded when that date has passed.
Reviewed 25 August 2015