Salmonella in South Australian custard sickens a lot

Different Australian states seem to have decidedly different ways for informing the public about food-related risks.

South Australia Health says there’s been a large increase in cases of Salmonella Typhimurium phage type 9 over the past week, but it won’t provide any numbers.

SA Health’s investigation into the potential causes for this increase has associated Vili’s custard-filled berliners and St George Cakes & Gelati’s custard filled cannolis and éclairs with the Salmonella infection.

SA Health’s Public Health Director, Dr Kevin Buckett, said, “Both companies are co-operating fully with SA Health and are working with the department to ensure that all of these custard items are removed from supermarket and store shelves. They have also both voluntarily stopped making these items until any potential source of contamination has been remedied and the product is safe. Extensive testing of ingredients and equipment at both premises has not yet identified a source of contamination.

The SA Health statement also says, “Only these three custard-filled items, Vili’s berliners and St George Cakes and Gelati cannolis and éclairs, have been linked to the infection and there has been no evidence to suspect that any other Vili’s or St George Cakes & Gelati’s products are a risk.”

The statement does not say whether the facilities have been closed or if the two businesses are still making other products, which is odd since the source of the salmonella has not been determined.

So, SA Health, how many people are sick? How did this outbreak get detected? Do these two businesses use the same supplier?