When an aspect of food safety or good hygiene slips through the cracks and is detected and corrected immediately, businesses are able to pick up and carry on without much damage to their reputation or bottom line. But when businesses find themselves being the source of bad hygiene not once but twice or more, then it is much more difficult for them to recover financially and some even end up going out of business.
A small goods manufacturer in Adelaide was recently charged with not one but six hygiene breaches. The listeria scare in 2005 was traced back to the company after a man died after eating chicken they had produced.
This article on SafetyCulture.com.au explains:
A smallgoods manufacturer has been charged with six hygiene breaches at its Bowden plant.
Following an investigation by the South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Resources (DPIR) in February, issues including poor hand washing facilities, storage and pest control were revealed.
The DPRI issued the company accreditation in 2009, requiring it to adhere to hygiene standards.
No plea was entered at last week’s hearing at Adelaide Magistrates Court, with the case to return to the court in March.
The company had been the subject of a listeria scare in 2005, settling with the family of a man who died after a hospital served him chicken produced by the company.
Listeria monocytogenes (also known as Listeria) is a sneaky microorganism that can contaminate food products, causing an infection called listeriosis without the food even displaying signs of being contaminated. Listeria is a genus of bacteria that contains seven species.
The bacteria which cause listeriosis occur commonly in the environment and can contaminate food from the farm to the retailer and in the case above the contamination was linked to the manufacturer.
Most recently in Oz several cheeses had to be recalled for fears of a listeria contamination. Two Australians died and a pregnant woman suffered a miscarriage due to the contamination linked to the Jindi Cheese Company.
According to authorities, the way food is stored, handled and consumed affects and contributes to listeria contamination. The company in question was in violation of 6 hygiene codes including poor hand washing facilities, bad storage and lack of pest control, one or all of which could have contributed to the incident which claimed a man’s life in 2005.
Pregnant women, infants and the elderly or sickly are more vulnerable to contracting listeriosis due to their lowered immune systems. Cancer and Aids patients may also contract the sickness more easily and suffer worse symptoms.
Although in most cases food poisoning is not fatal and should disappear within a few days, Listeria infections have been known to claim the lives of its victims. Severe food poisoning has the potential to cause paralysis, kidney damage and other lasting complications, such as damage to the large intestine.
Listeria can also lead to serious conditions such as meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain. For new-born babies long-term consequences can include mental retardation, seizures, paralysis, blindness or permanent deafness.