18 sick, 1 dead in Australian salmonella outbreak

A restaurant in Ballarat, northwest of Melbourne, was closed for a week on Dec. 30, 2011, after a cluster of salmonella infections including one death, were linked to the eatery.

A Health Department spokesman confirmed 13 cases of salmonella linked to the eatery, plus another five suspected cases.

Investigations are continuing into whether the death of an elderly man on December 30 is connected to the case.

Health officials said the premises required “a thorough clean-up” and they ordered an extensive overhaul of the business’s food-handling procedures.

Staff were also ordered to undertake more training in food handling.

In another example of repetition-doesn’t-make-it-right, he owner of the business said yesterday he was shocked by the incident.

“We’ve been using the same procedures for 21 years and never had such a thing. We don’t know what caused it but we have done everything the Health Department has asked us to do – everything – but we don’t know if it’s our fault or not.”

The owner said he had changed his supplier of eggs.

While the restaurant has reopened for business, it is still being monitored by Ballarat City Council.

Acting chief executive officer Jeff Pulford declined to say whether charges were pending.

“The matter is the subject of an ongoing investigation in conjunction with the Department of Health and as such it is inappropriate to make any comment,” he said.

If people were getting sick in Dec., the place was shut on Dec. 30, and almost two weeks later the restaurant is reopened with no more details than we’ve changed our egg supplier, it is more than appropriate to make a comment. How are consumers to know whether they should eat at the place or not?