Increased food safety compliance by food outlets

 

The chance of getting food poisoning is on the decline with the level of food safety standards increasing across NSW, Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said.

Ms Hodgkinson said the 2011-2012 Local Government Activity Report found compliance rates have lifted to 94.5 per cent in 12 months which means consumers are better protected from foodborne illnesses.

“Councils’ inspections and support for food businesses are contributing factors to these strong compliance rates,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The NSW Government’s Food Safety Supervisors initiative, which started a year ago, has seen 47,194 people trained to help improve food handler skills and knowledge in the retail food sector.

“Councils across NSW undertook 59,974 inspections of the 39,411 retail food businesses which require an annual inspection.

“Between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2012 there were fewer tough enforcement actions, such as penalties, seizures and prosecutions, for serious non-compliance compared with the previous four years.

“The results of this enforcement hierarchy also highlighted that intervention and business support are effective means of encouraging compliance,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

Ms Hodgkinson said the report showed that the number of consumer food complaints reported to councils were on par with last year’s results.

“Councils have been active and in the space of 12 months reviewed 4,344 food complaints from consumers and investigated 96.6 per cent of these complaints in addition to undertaking regular inspections,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to ensuring the safety of the community.

“While food safety inspections have been effective, the ‘Name and Shame’ initiative has also been a good deterrent for most businesses,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

 

Further cases of Listeria indentified

18 January 2013

An ongoing national investigation has linked a further seven cases of listeria to soft cheeses. There are now 18 cases of listeria infection nationally, and a link to batches of Jindi manufactured cheeses sold at delicatessens and supermarkets has been identified.

The Jindi Cheese company is now voluntarily recalling its cheeses from all batches it manufactured up until January 7.

listeria sample

listeria sample

Dr Lisa Szabo, Chief Scientist, NSW Food Authority, advised that affected Jindi cheeses should either be discarded or returned to the retailer for a refund. There are a number of brand names included in the recall. Consumers should check the list of products or call the Jindi helpline on 1800 680 175.

Professor Wayne Smith, Acting Director of Health Protection, NSW Health, advises that the recalled Jindi foods should not be consumed.

Eight cases of listeria have been identified in Victoria, six in NSW, two in Queensland and single cases in Tasmania and Western Australia. Two people – a Victorian man, 84, and a Tasmanian man, 44, have died of listeriainfection, and a NSW woman miscarried.

Professor Lynn Gilbert, Clinical Lead, Infection Prevention and Control, Western Sydney Local Health District, said that at risk groups should be aware that some foods are potentially harmful to them.

“Pregnant women, and the elderly, in particular need to aware of this recall. Sadly, a woman in NSW has miscarried after contracting listeria,” said Prof Gilbert.

Listeria is a bacteria that can affect a range of food products, particularly soft cheeses such as camembert and brie, despite strict hygiene and manufacturing controls,” Prof Gilbert said.

“The infection will cause minor or no symptoms in the vast majority of healthy people who may contract it, but is particularly dangerous for some vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and the elderly. Early symptoms of listeria include fever, headache, tiredness, aches and pains.

“It’s extremely important that at risk groups are aware of the dangers of associated with soft cheeses and what Jindi products have been recalled.”

For the full list of products please visit:

http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/news/alerts-recalls/product-recall-jindi-cheeses/

Information about listeria, and the type of foods at risk, can be found on the NSW Health website at:

http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/news/Pages/Listeria-Health-Alert.aspx

Further information about what foods to avoid can be found at:

http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/consumers/life-events-and-food/

Find the fridge: spoiled foods cost business a fortune

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Unless you would like a date with the porcelain, put your lunch in the fridge.

That’s the advice from the Food Safety Information Council, which warns that many Australians fail to follow simple instructions to avoid food poisoning.

But employers appear to need to help out – a recent council survey found that many of the office workers who don’t use the fridge for their lunch believe that it’s more an incubator for food disasters than a way to keep food clean and cool.

The annual survey of about 1200 people found that three-quarters of office workers take their lunch to work, but 10 per cent of that number fail to put their lunch in the fridge.

The results were worse for school lunches: more than one-quarter of parents fail to put a frozen drink or ice block with their child’s lunch – up 8 per cent on the survey in 2011.

“Food poisoning can have horrific long-term consequences, including reactive arthritis,” Michael Eyles, council chair, said.

 

The council warns that food poisoning costs Australia an estimated $1.25 billion each year, including 2.1 million days lost at work and 1.2 million visits to the doctor.

The figures are calculated by microbiologists at the federal government entity OzFoodNet.

Dr Eyles warned that lunchboxes needed to be washed and dried daily and should be replaced if cracked, split or shattered

“Bugs will grow in any cracks,” he said. “Avoid risky foods such as soft cheeses, sprouts and pate.”

As for the workplace, employers should keep the fridges in good working order and make sure that they do not become overcrowded.

“Rather than avoid it, become friends with that fridge at work that no one seems to own,” Dr Eyles said. “Make sure it is clean and not packed with ageing food.”

And it’s always good etiquette to ensure that if you open the fridge, you also close it properly.

 

 – 

Adrian Lowe

The Age

3 Things the Best Bartenders Know That You Don’t

Good bartenders know the Responsible Service of Alcohol laws, but the best bartenders actually believe in them and make them a part of everything they do.

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So, what are the 3 things the best bartenders know that you don’t?

Intoxication

They know when you’ve had too much to drink for one thing, even though you may not agree with them.
They’re trained to look out for the signs of inebriation and, if you exhibit them, the best bartenders will
stop serving you for your own good,

These signs include:

Slurring or unclear speech
Clumsiness, such as fumbling with your change
Staggering or swaying on your feet
Confusion or lack of understanding
Abusive language or physical aggression.

It’s not just for your own good either. Bartenders are required by law to refuse service to a person they
believe is intoxicated and they face prosecution along with their employer if they fail to do so.

Serving minors

The best bartenders also know if you’re under 18. If they suspect you are, they’ll ask for your ID and
they’re pretty good at spotting fake ones. They know the signs to look for, which include:

Height and body weight that doesn’t match yours
Fuzzy numbers or letters
Bumps or rough edges
Red eye in the photograph.

If they’re not convinced, the best bartenders will ask for more ID, such as a credit card. If you can’t

satisfy them, they won’t serve you, because it’s their responsibility if they get it wrong.

Standard drinks

The third thing the best bartenders know is what constitutes a standard drink. Drinks are standardised
not just for commercial reasons, but so you can tell how much you’ve had and whether you should be
driving home. Standard drinks are:

Beer – 285ml (a middy)
Light beer – 570ml (2 middies)
Red or white wine – 100ml
Fortified wine or port – 60ml
Champagne – 100ml
Spirits – 30ml

Of course, any bartender can refuse you service, but the best bartenders are those who do it with
friendliness and tact and even go out of their way to call you a cab if you shouldn’t be driving.

That’s because the best bartenders don’t just pay lip service to the responsible service of alcohol, they
regard it as doing you a favour, even though you may not see it that way at the time.The best bartenders also get the best training. CFT International has Responsible Service of Alcohol

courses that cover legislation in every state and territory.

Food Safety Bill

Illness from contaminated food, ranging from minor stomachaches and queasiness to life-threatening E. coli infections, are a serious public-health threat in the U.S., resulting in 5,000 deaths and 325,000 hospitalizations each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When tallied up, the consequences of foodborne illness — including doctor visits, medication, lost work days and pain and suffering — cost the U.S. an estimated $152 billion annually. That figure was reported on Wednesday in a new study by the Produce Safety Project, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trust.
– Time Magazine

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1969259,00.html#ixzz2HKeWzkhB

Do sprouts carry a risk of illness?

 Like any fresh produce that is consumed raw or lightly cooked, sprouts carry a risk of food borne illness. Unlike other fresh proImageduce, seeds and beans need warm and humid conditions to sprout and grow. These conditions are also ideal for the growth of bacteria, including Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.

Have sprouts been associated with outbreaks of foodborne illness? Since 1996, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli.

What is the source of the bacteria? In outbreaks associated with sprouts, the seed is typically the source of the bacteria. There are a number of approved techniques to kill harmful bacteria that may be present on seeds and even tests for seeds during sprouting. But, no treatment is guaranteed to eliminate all harmful bacteria.

Are homegrown sprouts safer? Not necessarily. If just a few harmful bacteria are present in or on the seed, the bacteria can grow to high levels during sprouting, even under sanitary conditions at home.

What can industry do to enhance the safety of sprouts? In 1999, the FDA provided the sprout industry with guidance on reducing the risk of contamination of sprouts by harmful bacteria. The FDA and other Federal and state agencies continue to work with industry on detecting and reducing contamination and keeping contaminated sprouts out of the marketplace.

What can consumers do to reduce the risk of illness?

  • Children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts).
  • Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Cooking kills the harmful bacteria.
  • Request that raw sprouts not be added to your food. If you purchase a sandwich or salad at a restaurant or delicatessen, check to make sure that raw sprouts have not been added.

Safe storage of festive foods

 

These short but safe time limits for home-refrigerated foods will keep them from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat.

Category Food Refrigerator
(40 °F or below)
Freezer
(0 °F or below)
Salads Egg, chicken, ham, tuna & macaroni salads 3 to 5 days Does not freeze well
Hot dogs opened package 1 week 1 to 2 months
unopened package 2 weeks 1 to 2 months
Luncheon meat opened package or deli sliced 3 to 5 days 1 to 2 months
unopened package 2 weeks 1 to 2 months
Bacon & Sausage Bacon 7 days 1 month
Sausage, raw — from chicken, turkey, pork, beef 1 to 2 days 1 to 2 months
Hamburger & Other Ground Meats Hamburger, ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb, & mixtures of them 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork Steaks 3 to 5 days 6 to 12 months
Chops 3 to 5 days 4 to 6 months
Roasts 3 to 5 days 4 to 12 months
Fresh Poultry Chicken or turkey, whole 1 to 2 days 1 year
Chicken or turkey, pieces 1 to 2 days 9 months
Soups & Stews Vegetable or meat added 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months
Leftovers Cooked meat or poultry 3 to 4 days 2 to 6 months
Chicken nuggets or patties 3 to 4 days 1 to 3 months
Pizza 3 to 4 days 1 to 2 months