Raw egg in hollandaise sickens 20 at upscale retirement home

Australia has had a number of outbreaks involving raw eggs in a variety of dishes. Why any aged care facility, even a so-called upscale one like RSL Anzac Village at Narrabeen would serve dishes with raw eggs to a vulnerable population like senior citizens speaks to the stellar food safety training underpinning their upscale care. Maybe they were trained by the same folks who think it’s OK to serve cold cuts to old folks in Canada – 20 died from listeria in Maple Leaf deli meats last fall.

The source of the outbreak is believed to be a hollandaise sauce that used raw egg, although the NSW Food Authority is still waiting for conclusive test results.

The suspected food poisoning occurred on Friday, January 23, when the temperature reached nearly 32 degrees at the RSL Anzac Village at Narrabeen. The high-quality village provides 750 independent living units as well as places for 500 people in nursing home or hostel level care.

A statement from the home’s management said, "Village management apologises unreservedly to all people affected by this unfortunate incident and continues to work with the public health unit to trace the source.”

It said the village served more than 200,000 meals a year and this was the first known episode of gastric upset relating to food services "in living memory".

The Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, issued a warning about the potential health risks from eating food that contained raw or lightly cooked eggs.

He said the Government was launching an education campaign in view of a consumer survey by the Food Authority that showed people did not understand how to safely cook or store eggs.