Public health should protect public health and name names; Victoria health types resort to blame the consumer defense

After the belated public notification about a salmonella outbreak linked to Rizzo’s Pizza in Ballarat, Australia, the Herald-Sun uncovered a bunch of other incidents of people barfing in the state of Victoria that were never or belatedly made public.

A poisoning outbreak at a sushi bar that left 84 people sick and 19 in hospital is among serious food safety incidents kept quiet by authorities.

Other cases uncovered include 17 diners who fell acutely ill after eating Vietnamese chicken and pork rolls; 10 people struck down after eating eggs Benedict at a cafe; and 13 people who fell crook from chicken parmigiana at a hotel.

Health department figures show a significant rise in salmonella cases in the past two years, many of them linked to eggs (a table of raw-egg related outbreaks in Australia is available at

Brooke Dellavedova, a principal at Maurice Blackburn, said she often heard about food poisoning outbreaks, but new laws meant class actions were difficult to mount on behalf of victims.

"So the proprietors get a slap on the wrist, if that, and that’s the end of the story," she said.

Department of Health spokesman Graeme Walker said the department did not routinely reveal the names of businesses because its role was to identify and remove the source and investigate the cause.

Acting chief health officer Dr Rosemary Lester said the information was not being kept secret and salmonella was common adding, "We do know that many cases of salmonella arise in the home and other outlets.”

This isn’t about where salmonella happens: this is about accountability by publicly-funded health types.