53 sickened with campy in chicken liver pate in 2013, lawsuit likely in Australia

Victims of a mass food poisoning at Australian National University celebration last year intend to launch legal action against the caterer.

pate.beet.dp.mar.12The Canberra Times reports that 53 students fell ill with gastroenteritis after the end of year celebration at Burgmann College.

Some have engaged lawyers with the intention of suing Scolarest, the company that feeds the college of 350 students.

An ACT Health investigation found the likely cause of the outbreak had been “insufficient cooking of campylobacter contaminated chicken livers used in the pate.”

The outbreak was first identified in October 2013 after ANU health service was swamped by gastroenteritis cases among residents of Burgmann College.

Victims reported suffering from symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, cramps, sweating, headache, nausea, and back pain.

ACT Health were notified and found a Valete or valedictory dinner function attended by about 289 people at the college on October 25 was the likely cause.

Fifty-three of the guests were struck down and analysis found those who ate the chicken liver pate carried an increased risk of illness.

Testing of victims revealed the presence of Campylobacter jejuni.

Leftover pate from the function tested positive to the bacteria; however, the strain was different to that found in victims.

chicken-liver-pate-2But a summary of the ACT Health report on the probe concluded that the poisoning was likely to have been  caused by the pate.

Canberra law firm Aulich Civil Law confirmed it had been engaged to act on behalf of 20 poisoned students.

Burgmann College caterer, Scolarest, which is part of the Compass Group, said it had the claims under review.