Does epidemiology count? Canberra says no evidence of food poisoning at club

”We can’t have 29 people who have come from interstate just for a funeral and a wake all have the same symptoms [by chance],” says Cheryle Parkes.

”I’m sorry, it just doesn’t work that way, and the family members who weren’t there didn’t get sick.”

Health authorities investigating a suspected food poisoning outbreak have found no trace of pathogens or contaminants in food samples taken from the Raiders Belconnen Club in supremespinachandeggbreakfastsandwiches1Kippax.

However, ACT Health is unable to rule out the club as the source of the outbreak, which resulted in 29 of 40 guests at a wake becoming sick.

Testing of sandwiches, potato salad and pasta salad comes after most guests at the February 12 wake were left bedridden, with some interstate travellers having to delay trips home due to vomiting.

Cheryle Parkes said she believed egg and chicken sandwiches served at her mother’s wake were the cause.

Food samples collected from the club on February 14, two days after the wake, tested negative for dangerous bacteria, E. coli and salmonella.

An ACT Health spokeswoman said the results did not rule out food-borne illness affecting the people.

”A failure to detect pathogens in food analysed from suspect sources means that there was no causative organism detected,” she said.

”It does not mean that an outbreak of food-borne illness did not occur and it does not mean that a particular business did not cause the problem.”

ACT Health said it did not comment on individual businesses involved in suspected outbreaks.

Raiders Club manager Craig Potts said the frozen sandwiches tested had been from the same batch as those served at the wake. They included ham, cheese and pickle; chicken, cheese and mayonnaise; and egg and chive sandwiches.

”Quality control is something we take very seriously and we were always very confident that the analysis report from the ACT Health would reflect this,” he said.

Last year home-made mayonnaise was found to be at fault when 140 diners fell ill after eating at a Dickson restaurant.