220 sick, 1 dead in Brisbane Salmonella outbreak

I was in Seattle last week for my new job and someone asked about public awareness of foodborne illness in Australia. I said they are at least 20 years behind the U.S. and 10 years behind Canada.

I don’t make such assessments lightly – but when 49 people, mainly kids, get sick with E. coli O57:H7 at the Brisbane state fair petting zoo in Sept. and there is absolutely no follow-up, I have amy.melbourne.cup_.12confidence in saying Australia sucks when it comes to public awareness of foodborne illness.

The Melbourne Cup is like the Kentucky Derby in Australia, signifying spring and women in outrageous hats. The nation stops.

Or vomits.

According to the Brisbane Times, one woman has died and hundreds of others have reported illness after a Salmonella outbreak linked to a Brisbane catering company serving Melbourne Cup related functions on Nov. 5, 2013.

The company, which has not been named by Queensland Health or the Metro North Hospital and Health Service, provided the catering for 40 different Melbourne Cup functions last week.

At least 220 people have reported being sick and a 77-year-old woman’s death has been linked to the food poisoning outbreak.

My uniformed guess, knowing nothing about the outbreak, is raw eggs used in an aioli or mayonnaise dip; because Australia has an egg problem.