Maggots top NZ food complaints

Gingerbread wriggling with maggots, a sausage roll growing fuzz on it, a salmonella outbreak and the sale of four-year-old frozen oysters were among bought food complaints the Ministry of Primary Industries dealt with from Whangarei in the past three years.

sausage rollOf a dozen complaints in that period, there were four last year and only one this year.

One 2013 incident involved 11 food poisoning cases traced to contaminated butter, rather than an on-site food handling breach, at an undisclosed Whangarei outlet.

But with the season now here for sharing meals, cooking outdoors and carrying food over distances, authorities are warning people to maintain safe handling practices.

Most food poisoning cases stem from food prepared at home, not in the commercial sector, Whangarei District Council regulatory services manager Grant Couchman said.


C.J. Jacob and D.A. Powell. 2009. Where does foodborne illness happen—in the home, at foodservice, or elsewhere—and does it matter? Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. November 2009, 6(9): 1121-1123

Foodservice professionals, politicians, and the media are often cited making claims as to which locations most often expose consumers to foodborne pathogens. Many times, it is implied that most foodborne illnesses originate from food consumed where dishes are prepared to order, such as restaurants or in private homes. The manner in which the question is posed and answered frequently reveals a speculative bias that either favors homemade or foodservice meals as the most common source of foodborne pathogens. Many answers have little or no scientific grounding, while others use data compiled by passive surveillance systems. Current surveillance systems focus on the place where food is consumed rather than the point where food is contaminated. Rather than focusing on the location of consumption—and blaming consumers and others—analysis of the steps leading to foodborne illness should center on the causes of contamination in a complex farm-to-fork food safety system.