Ada Lee was at ground zero when shit hit the fan.
The Vietnamese roll section of Café Azzuri has been shut down after 21 customers received salmonella poisoning from its pâté.
Last month Honi Soit reported that a Wentworth-JFR food outlet was under investigation for allegedly causing salmonella infections with several hospitalised as a result.
Though authorities had not conclusively linked the infections with the food outlet, Honi Soit can now confirm that there were 21 confirmed cases and two suspected cases of salmonella, based on figures from the Sydney Local Health District.
Café Azzuri’s owner Nick Ana informed Honi Soit of the NSW Food Authority’s findings. The official report is yet to be finalised, but it can now be confirmed that one batch of chicken liver pâté made and served by Bun Me, a part of the cafe, caused the infections.
“The most likely cause is that we purchased contaminated chicken liver and failed to kill all the bacteria during the cooking process,” Ana said.
A couple of days after the contamination, the pork rolls were taken off the menu. Soon after, the entire section was shut down. However, this course of action was not enforced by the NSW Food Authority as a result of the findings.
Ana said Azzuri shut down Bun Me of its own accord, on 10 February. He plans for it to remain closed until Azzuri can source pâté from a supplier approved for food safety.
Following this decision, the USU officially asked the store to cease selling Vietnamese-style rolls until the investigation was finalised.
Azzuri’s other coffee and food services, however, remain open. University of Sydney Union CEO Andrew Woodward justified this on the basis that the contamination was limited to one aspect of the operation. The café has been a tenant of the USU for over 20 years, and the USU is not currently looking for a new business to replace it.
Ana described the incident as “most regrettable”.
“I offer my heartfelt apology to the people that fell ill. My overwhelming priority is to ensure this does not occur in my operation again.”
For the future, Ana has identified several critical risk areas of Azzuri’s food handling procedures. The final NSW Food Authority report is expected to be released within two weeks, and Azzuri is likely to be found on the Authority’s “name and shame” website.
Published in Honi Soit, pg. 5, 9 March 2014.