Health experts are on the lookout for more incidents of salmonella poisoning following a national recall on some lettuce products.
ABC News reports that twenty-eight people have been diagnosed with a rare strain of bacteria and two were hospitalised after eating leafy greens linked to Tripod Farmers, based in Bacchus Marsh, west of Melbourne.
The company has withdrawn 24 products from supermarket shelves and is investigating the salmonella source.
Department of Health and Human Services senior medical adviser Dr Finn Romanes said he expected more people to develop symptoms in the coming days.
The Department said it was confident the issue was contained, but would continue to investigate the source, along with the company and the local council.
Moorabool Shire Deputy Mayor Paul Tatchell said he hoped the issue would be resolved quickly.
“The drought conditions along with the recent fires have put Moorabool’s agriculture under enormous stress, and it’s obviously having a significant impact on the local economy,” he said.
“Issues like this only add to the fire and we hope it can be resolved very very quickly.”
Mass production of food increases salmonella risk
Australian National University epidemiologist Professor Martin Kirk said Australia had one of the highest rates of salmonella in the industrialised world.
“The mass production of foods has led to the potential for the industrial scale of contamination,” he said.
“So if there is a vegetable or a fruit that’s been contaminated with salmonella, it can cause relatively large outbreaks to occur even in states quite some distance.”
Richard Bennett from Fresh Produce Marketing Australia New Zealand said people expectations over food had changed.
“We expect greater convenience, we expect greater shelf life, we eat out a lot more,” he said.
“We expect everything available everywhere at any time and so the food web is having to respond and that may well be the cause of an increase in salmonella.”
List of recalled products:
•Woolworths brand: Spinach 100g, Rocket 100g, Salad mix 100g
•Wash N Toss: Watercress 100g, Sorrell 50g, Baby Cos 100g, Spinach 100g, Salad Mix 100g, Rocket 100g, Kale 100g
•Coles brand: Spinach 60g, Rocket 60g and 120g, Spinach and Rocket 120g, Spinach 120g, 4Leaf 120g and 200g
•SupaSalad: SupaSalad 180g, Green Coral 180g, Supamix 1kg, Spinach 1kg, Rocket 1kg, Baby Cos 1kg, Spinach 180g
New products added to the nationwide recall list are Woolworths Gourmet Mix, 100g, Supa Salad ALH, 1kg, Clear Film Blend, Clear Film Spinach and Clear Film Cos.
Lydia Buchtmann from the Australian Food Safety Information Council told news.com.au “Our advice is to take the product back to the shop where they purchased it immediately. If they are sick, a child or an elderly person, please check with a doctor, because dehydration can occur very quickly.”
All these products have best before dates leading up to and including February 14. Products are being recalled in NSW, Victoria, QLD, ACT, Northern Territory and South Australia.
Symptoms of salmonellosis via Better Health Victoria
Symptoms of salmonellosis usually occur between 6 to 72 hours after you ingest the bacteria.
The most common symptoms include:
•diarrhoea, which may contain blood or mucous
•dehydration, especially among infants and the elderly.
In rare cases, septicaemia (local infection) may develop as a complication of salmonellosis.
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