A foodborne outbreak which took place at a Canberra wake recently left most of the attendees sick after they consumed what is suspected to be contaminated egg and chicken sandwiches.
Many of the guests were out of town travellers whose trips home had to be delayed because they were so ill and had to remain at home because of vomiting.
According to Cheryle Parkes, most of the guests at her mother’s wake became sick at the Raiders Belconnen Club in Kippax last week after eating the contaminated sandwiches. 29 of the 40 guests reported illnesses.
Parkes was quoted as saying”
”My brother-in-law had such severe diarrhoea, my sister had shocking vomiting,” Mrs Parkes said.
”Another lady, my sister’s sister-in-law, said she’d never been so sick in her life. There were high temperatures, aching joints, massive headaches, cramps.”
As if the event wasn’t tragic enough, the family’s suffering had to be prolonged because of the incident which proves how important food safety and food handling training is especially for the staff of any venue that serves food, even community halls and clubs.
According to the club’s manager they are working together with ACT health to try and find out the problem so that it can be dealt with and Parkes and her family can be informed. He explained:
Raiders club manager Craig Potts said staff were working with ACT Health. ”If there is an issue we need to deal with it, but currently they haven’t given us any findings and therefore we are unable to deal further with this in this instance,” he said.
”As soon as the findings are made available we will be in contact with the client we dealt with and will take any needed action as such.”
The outbreak was so bad that one woman who was affected was apparently blacking out on the floor from vomiting. According to Parkes she forked out over $600 for the food at the wake which included a variety of things but it seems that everyone who ate the sandwiches got sick.
”The ones who didn’t have sandwiches didn’t get sick,” she said.
”The people that went down first seemed to be the ones who had the chicken sandwiches, and then as I asked around some people had had the egg sandwiches.”
Parkes speculated that perhaps it was the mayonnaise that was in both the egg and chicken sandwiches which was the culprit however authorities will have to verify the cause after they have done more tests.
Mayonnaise is often contaminated when left out especially as buffets and events such as this one because it contains egg. Mayonnaise should not be left out of the fridge for more than 2 hours and on a hot day even this can be dangerous.
The following excerpt from the article onCanberraTimes.com.au also talks about another mayonnaise related food poisoning outbreak:
Home-made mayonnaise was to blame last year when 140 diners fell ill and 15 were admitted to hospital after eating at the Copa Brazilian Churrasco restaurant on May 12.
The food poisoning – attributed by ACT Health to the raw eggs used in the dressing – was Canberra’s largest ever outbreak of salmonella.