Tag Archives: NSW Food Authority

Pork roll pandemonium after salmonella outbreak


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.


Leave a comment

Filed under Honi Soit, News

Wentworth-JFR food outlet under investigation for Salmonella poisoning

Screen shot 2014-02-10 at 5.49.45 PM

Allegations of food poisoning have been made against a food outlet in the Wentworth-Jane Foss Russell Building area, prompting an investigation by local authorities. Ada Lee reports.

In the last week of January during university holidays, professors, employees, and students have reportedly gotten stomach sicknesses after consuming meals from the same food outlet on campus.

The food outlet in question has now been reported to authorities. The Sydney Local Health District (LHD) and NSW Food Authority are currently investigating the “likely cause” of 12 confirmed cases and six suspected cases of Salmonella infection, according to a Sydney LHD spokesperson.

USU CEO, Andrew Woodward, informed Honi Soit that the investigation has found Salmonella bacteria in one of the ingredients used in food preparation at the store. “However, we are awaiting confirmation that the strain of salmonella found in the cases matches the salmonella found in the [ingredient name omitted] served by [shop name omitted].”

Salmonellosis is a form of gastroenteritis caused when Salmonella bacteria are ingested. Symptoms include diarrhoea (which may contain blood or mucous), fever, headache, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and dehydration.

Alex Mouzone, third-year, mature age, B. PESS student, spent almost a week in hospital suffering from salmonellosis. Mouzone believes his illness was caused by his lunch from the Wentworth-Jane Foss Russell area on Friday, 24 January. The next week, the outlet stopped selling the item Mouzone bought in response to requests from the USU.

After lunch, Mouzone returned to work. He had salad, a cheese wrap and chips for dinner before heading to Newtown to watch the Federer versus Nadal Australian Open semi-final. Around 8pm, he was drinking his second beer when he started to feel a stomach ache. Symptoms of salmonellosis usually occur six to 72 hours after ingesting the bacteria.

Mouzone went home, where he experienced “the worst stomach cramps I’ve ever had”. “Basically, when that match was going on, I was just getting progressively sicker”, he said.

Mouzone spent Friday night at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. On Saturday, he stayed home and saw a home-visit doctor. “I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink”, he said.

From Sunday to Thursday, Mouzone was admitted into Concord Hospital where they discovered he had salmonella infection. They put him in an isolated room to contain the infection and fed him fluids through an IV drip.

The accused shop has been a USU tenant (distinct from a USU outlet) for 20 years. When assessing a store’s suitability for tenancy, an external, professional leasing agency looks at food safety history, business practice and customer service. “Based on the check, their 20 year association with the USU and their popularity with the campus community, [shop name omitted] was assessed as an appropriate tenant at each opportunity, i.e. at lease origination and lease renewal,” said Woodward.

“To our best knowledge this is the first time there has been a complaint made against [the shop].”

All tenants serving food are also subject to regular inspections by the NSW Food Authority.

If the store is found guilty in the current investigation, the Authority may choose from a range of enforcement policies to use against the offender such as verbal and written warnings, correction action requests, penalties, prosecution, publication of names and if serious, action against Food Authority licenses.

As the investigation is ongoing, the food outlet’s owner has declined to comment.

* The Sydney Local Health District spoke to Honi Soit on the condition that the food outlet remains unnamed until the allegations are confirmed.

Published in Honi Soit, 10 February 2014.

Leave a comment

Filed under Honi Soit, News