NSW Food Authority investigates Sydney Hep A outbreak

NSW Food Authority and NSW Health are investigating a hepatitis A outbreak in the Sydney region.

The investigation comes after 10 people have contracted hepatitis A within the area over the past five weeks. On average, there is only two locally acquired hepatitis A cases each year.

Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said NSW Health and the NSW Food Authority are assessing patterns of food distribution and any links to overseas outbreaks. She said no specific food has yet to be connected to the outbreak.

NSW Health said that when hepatitis A outbreaks occur in Australia they are either linked to the consumption of contaminated food products or person-to-person spread.

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that spreads in contaminated food or through poor hygiene. Symptoms of hepatitis infection may include nausea, vomiting, fever and yellowing of the skin, dark urine and pale stools.

The risk of spreading hepatitis A can be reduced by washing hands thoroughly, particularly after going to the toilet, touching soiled linen or items, changing nappies and before preparing or eating food.

It is extremely vital to ensure that all staff working with food are well informed of their responsibilities when it comes to food hygiene.  Contact CFT for more information or visit CFT here

 

To read the full article posted by ANDREA HOGAN on 6th September 2017, click here

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OUTDOOR DINING IS NOW SMOKE-FREE

From 1 August 2017, smoking at Victorian venues will be banned:

  • in outdoor areas at hospitality and food venues used for eating food. This includes footpath dining areas, courtyards and beer gardens during times food is being eaten, or is available to be eaten
  • in all outdoor areas at food fairs. A food fair is an event where the principal activity is the supply of food for consumption at the event
  • within 10 metres of a food stall or food vendor at organised outdoor event (other than a food fair).

To complement smoke-free outdoor dining, smoking is banned in an outdoor drinking area if any part of that area is within 4 metres of an outdoor dining area, unless separated by a wall of at least 2.1 metres high. This means the two areas can be separated by either:

  • a 4 metre buffer zone; or
  • a wall of at least 2.1 metres high.

If the separation requirement is not met, smoking is banned in an outdoor drinking area. This law applies to the same venue as well as to neighbouring venues.

For more information about these reforms and to obtain your “No Smoking” signage, please visit –

https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/tobacco-reform/smoke-free-areas/outdoor-dining

Go vegetarian to lose weight says researchers

Vegetarian diets are almost twice as effective at helping you lose weight a study has found.

Published online by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers discovered those on a vegetarian diet lost weight more effectively than those just on a low-calorie diet.

After studying 74 individuals who all had type 2 diabetes, those who followed the vegetarian diet lost an average of 6.2 kilograms across the course of the study.

Those on the low-calorie, non-vegetarian diet only lost an average of 3.2 kilograms each.

Both diets required participants eat 500 kilocalories a day less than they normally would. The only animal product the vegetarian diet allowed for was one low-fat tub of yoghurt per day.

The study further found the vegetarian diet was more effective at reducing muscle fat and increasing metabolism.

Researcher, Dr Hana Kahleova, said this finding was particularly important for those with type 2 diabetes as an increase in metabolism could possibly equal an increase in glucose metabolism.

“Vegetarian diets proved to be the most effective diets for weight loss,” Dr Kahleova said.

“However, we also showed that a vegetarian diet is much more effective at reducing muscle fat, thus improving metabolism. This finding is important for people who are trying to lose weight, including those suffering from metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes. But it is also relevant to anyone who takes their weight management seriously and wants to stay lean and healthy,” she said.

source: http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au

To read full article and links – http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2017/06/14/go-vegetarian-to-lose-weight-says-researchers.html

Bad Bugs In Winter Food

Today marks the start of winter and Australians are being warned about the risks of food poisoning from winter foods like casseroles and soups.

Chair of the Food Safety Council, Rachelle Williams, said “although many people associate food poisoning with hot weather, Australians need to be wary of the dangers in cooking big winter meals like casseroles.”

“Cooking in bulk is cost effective, saves time and reduces food waste,” Williams said.

“However, we need to be extra careful handling these large amounts of food because, if they are left to cool slowly, bacteria can grow and produce dangerous toxins that won’t be destroyed by further cooking,” she said.

The Food Safety Council suggests dividing hot food into smaller portions and to refrigerate or freeze the food as soon as it stops steaming.

“Refrigerated leftovers should be used or frozen within 2 to 3 days,” says Williams.

“They will keep several months in the freezer. When reheating food ensure that it is hot all the way through, follow any microwave instructions to stir it or leave it to stand and use a thermometer to ensure it is at least 75°C in the centre,” she said.

The Council has also warned Australians using slow cookers to always follow instructions and make sure food is held at 60°C or above.

To minimize the risks of serving food poisoning to your customers you should ensure your food safety training is up to date.  Visit http://www.cft.com.au to enrol for your training.

 

image source: Google

Allergen labelling a life and death matter – reminder to food businesses

(The following article has been reproduced with permission of Food Standards Australia New Zealand).

Yesterday Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) announced a month-long campaign aimed at reminding food businesses about the need to get allergen labelling right.  

FSANZ Acting Chief Executive Officer Peter May said the campaign was timed to coincide with Australia’s Food Allergy Week (May 14‒20). 

“Food businesses in Australia and New Zealand need to be across the mandatory allergen labelling requirements in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code,” Mr May said. 

“Correct allergen labelling can mean the difference between life and death for people with food allergies so it is vital that food businesses meet labelling requirements.  

“There are currently nine foods which must be declared whenever they are present as ingredients or as components of food additives or processing aids. Lupins are expected to be added to the list this month. 

“If the food is not in a package or is not required to have a label (for example, food prepared at and sold from a takeaway shop), this information must either be displayed in connection with the food or provided to the purchaser if requested.” 

Mr May said FSANZ would be running a social media and media outreach campaign for one month to educate food businesses about the importance of allergen labelling.  

“FSANZ supports the important work of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia and its New Zealand counterpart —Allergy New Zealand—in raising awareness about food allergies. Both these organisations also provide important input to allergen-related work undertaken by FSANZ.” 

More information  

Read about Food Allergy Week 

Information about allergen labelling  

Video – FSANZ CEO Mark Booth talks about mandatory allergen labelling 

Bad eggs likely cause of Vic outbreak

A bad batch of eggs is being blamed for a food poisoning outbreak at a Melbourne cafe that affected 25 customers.

The salmonella outbreak occurred at the Food Republic cafe in Blackburn on March 18 after the Department of Health and Human Services linked a number of sick people to the cafe.
DHHS spokesman Bram Alexander said the department could not confirm eggs were the culprit as swabs and food samples have since shown no traces of salmonella in the cafe.
“We are not ruling any food in or any food out” Mr Alexander told AAP.
Food Republic co-owner Vanessa Lekkas says she believes the cause of the food poisoning outbreak was from a “bad batch” of eggs they whipped into raw products such as mayonnaise.  

To read the full article click the link –

http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/bad-eggs-likely-cause-of-vic-outbreak/news-story/1bf9b90d93bc60776b3d1eb8abcb36b3

 

Salmonella outbreak in Canberra closes two cafes

An outbreak of salmonella has forced two popular Canberra cafes to close their doors while they were investigated by health inspectors.

In a statement, HPS said health inspectors had uncovered problems “related with food handling processes and procedures” at both stores.

“The cafes will be closed until such time as the identified issues have been rectified,” the statement said.

The closure of the cafes for ‘serious food safety breaches’ and “risk to public health” is a scary reminder of the extreme importance of ensuring all food handlers are properly trained and aware of best safe food handling practises.
Click the link to read the articles about the closure of two cafes in Canberra.  If you haven’t updated your Food Safety Training don’t leave it too late!

Tips for Reducing the Risk of Bad Bugs in your Food

A recent salmonella outbreak linked to prepackaged lettuce from a farm in Victoria has left 62 people sick, with worries more might be coming forward.

There are reports the outbreak might also be linked to illness in Queensland and South Australia. Authorities across the country have recalled products with best before dates leading up to and including 14 February.

How can we help to protect ourselves ? –
Using whole, unprocessed vegetables and washing them thoroughly will reduce the risk of poisoning.

Good food handling practises will too. These include washing and drying hands thoroughly before food preparation, appropriate storage of foods, and separation of raw foods (particularly meat) from foods that have already been cooked or don’t require cooking.

Consumers may choose to rewash bagged leaves.

Here is the link to read more –
http://www.sbs.com.au/…/salmonella-your-salad-cost-convenie…

Photograph Joern Pollex/Getty Images.

‘Tis the Season To… not get food poisoning!

An estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning occur every year in Australia! As the summer temperatures rise so to do the risks of obtaining food poisoning. It is important to ensure food is prepared using appropriate procedures, refrigerated at cold enough temperatures and cooked correctly.

Following is an article SBS Food Editor, Charmaine Yabsley, giving some tips on how best to protect yourself, your friends and family against a viscous attack of food poisoning this summer!

http://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2016/12/12/tis-season-making-sure-our-festive-feasts-are-safe-eat

 

It’s important that aged care facilities follow food safety guidelines closely.

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Following a spate of food safety incidents in aged care facilities, managers need to be on the ball, according to the Australian Institute of Food Safety.

With aged care patients listed as a vulnerable group under Food Standard 3.3.1, it’s essential that staff have adequate training to handle the challenges of working with food.

AIFS managing director Stuart Hilditch said that in recent months, he had talked to a number of aged care facility managers and found that “many don’t have a single food safety supervisor on staff, let alone the two or three that they really need. And there is a lack of understanding about who needs training. It’s not just the kitchen staff but anyone who serves stores or unpacks food in the facility”.

According to Food Standards Australia New Zealand, the definition of a food handler is “anyone who works in a food business and who either handles food or surfaces that are likely to be in contact with food such as cutlery, plates and bowls.

“A food handler may do many different things for a food business. Examples include making, cooking, preparing, serving, packing, displaying and storing food.

“Food handlers can also be involved in manufacturing, producing, collecting, extracting, processing, transporting, delivering, thawing or preserving food.”

This means even staff who serve food delivered from an outside agency require food safety training, as do kitchen hands that perform tasks such as washing up.

Problems can be compounded by managers choosing the wrong course for their industry. “There are essentially three industry sectors that require food safety supervisor training,” Hilditch explained.

“These are retail and hospitality, food processing, and health and community services. Aged care facility managers must always ensure that the training provider is authorised to provide the units of competency for the health and community sector.”

While the content of food safety courses may be similar in the three industries, it is not necessarily the same. Staff wishing to use their food safety training to contribute to a higher qualification – such as a Certificate III in Aged Care – need to ensure that they complete food safety supervisor training for the correct industry, as the course is targeted to meet the needs of a specific role.

CFT can train you staff in-house, online or by correspondence go to http://www.cft.com.au for details

With the aged care industry being examined closely by the authorities, now is a good time to ensure that staff are well-versed in food safety, according to Hilditch. “Often, when a food safety incident occurs, there is a big rush for training after the event, but by then it’s often too late.

“With a little forethought and planning, the incident may have been prevented in the first place, saving the business money and safeguarding the health of their customers.”

reference http://www.agedcareinsite.com.au