Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Three SA Bakeries

51 people have fallen ill and 19 have been hospitalised with salmonellosis after eating banh mi (Vietnamese rolls) in South Australia.
Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Three SA Bakeries
March 6, 2019

A Salmonella outbreak has been linked to three Angkor Bakery stores in northern Adelaide. Following an investigation by SA Health, raw egg butter (which is similar to mayonnaise) was found to be the source of the outbreak.

The bakery owners voluntarily shut all three bakeries — located at Springbank Plaza in Burton, Hollywood Plaza in Salisbury Downs and Blakes Crossing in Blakeview — following recommendations from SA Health and the Salisbury Council. The bakeries are expected to reopen soon.

"Many food poisoning outbreaks have been associated with foods containing raw or partially-cooked eggs, such as aioli, mayonnaise, hollandaise or tartare sauce and mousse,” said Dr. Fay Jenkins, SA Health's Acting Director of Public Health Services. “It's important to check that eggs are clean and not cracked or dirty — and those that are should be thrown out.”

According to SA Health, there have already been 160 cases of Salmonella infection, also called salmonellosis, reported this year.

What Is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a bacterium that causes one of the most common intestinal infections in the developed world. The severity of symptoms of Salmonella infection depends on how many bacteria are digested as well as the age and general health of the person that digested them.

What Causes Salmonella Infection?

Salmonella infection is caused by eating food that is contaminated with a high number of Salmonella bacteria. The three most common causes of contamination are:

  • Poor personal hygiene of Food Handlers: Food Handlers can transfer the bacteria from their bodies or clothing to food, food preparation surfaces or utensils through improper hand washing or other food handling errors.
  • Incorrect time and temperature control: If food containing Salmonella bacteria is not cooked to the right temperature for the time required to reduce or eliminate the bacteria, Salmonella can multiply rapidly, increasing the risk of infection.
  • Inadequate cleaning and sanitising of surfaces and equipment: Improper cleaning and sanitising procedures can allow microorganisms, including harmful pathogens that cause food-borne illness, to grow rapidly. It can also cause cross-contamination.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of salmonellosis usually present themselves within 12 to 36 hours, but they could start as soon as 6 hours after consuming contaminated food or may take up to 72 hours to present themselves.

The most common symptoms include:

  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting and nausea
  • fever
  • headache
  • stomach cramps

Vulnerable customers, such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women or immunocompromised people, might experience more severe symptoms and are more likely to be hospitalised.

How Can It Be Prevented? 

One third of food-borne illness cases are believed to be caused by food handling mistakes. In most cases, food poisoning is easily preventable through:

  1. Time and temperature control
  2. Good personal hygiene of Food Handlers
  3. Effective cleaning and sanitising procedures

The AIFS Food Handler and Food Safety Supervisor courses have been developed to teach Australian food workers how to safely handle food in order to reduce food-borne illness in Australia.