35 sick with Salmonella from Australian restaurant (psst, check the eggs)

Fried ice cream sounds gross. So does the lengthy time for an investigation, but that’s probably related to the Australian legal process, which doesn’t really seem to serve consumers.

fried.ice.creamThe Daily Telegraph reports a suspected outbreak of food poisoning at a Chinese restaurant at Wenty Leagues, New South Wales, west of Sydney, is being investigated by the NSW Food Authority.

Up to 35 patrons – including 10 children – were believed to be struck ill after an ­evening out in September at the Jasmine Restaurant.

Three of the guests ended up in hospital, including a seven-year-old girl and four-year-old boy, and an adult who tested positive for Salmonella.

Wenty Leagues chief executive Mark Sheridan said the alleged incident on September 23 was being managed through the proper authorities.

“All inspections have been passed to the satisfaction of council and the food authority and the Jasmine Restaurant continues to trade,” Mr Sheridan said.

A group of 59 friends and family had eaten the banquet dinner on a Tuesday evening in honor of a 60th birthday.

They included mother of three Katrina Santos-Monses, who fell violently ill and two of her children, who were also affected.

“The food seemed nice,” Mrs Santos-Monses said. “But I did later suspect the fried ice-cream as it was melted inside and didn’t look like it normally does.”

The next day Mrs Santos-Monses and her children Cassandra, 7, and Sophie, 4, began suffering diarrhea, abdominal pain and high fever. She missed work and the children missed school and were ill the rest of the week.

A few days later, on the Saturday, during her six-month-old son’s christening ceremony, she collapsed. Both she and Cassandra were taken to Fairfield Hospital.

It was at the christening that guests began to realize more people were affected by the outbreak.

“It was like pieces of the puzzle were put together. There were cousins, uncles, so many people affected,” she said.

Mrs Santos-Monses is concerned at the length of time the investigation has taken.

“I’m mad that nobody has contacted me, to apologize or let me know what’s happened,” she said.

In early Jan. 2015, over 100 diners were sickened with Salmonella from fried ice cream at the at the Chin Chin Chinese restaurant in Brisbane.

A table of raw egg-related outbreaks in Australia is available at:



11 sickened with Salmonella from fried ice-cream prepared with raw eggs in 2010

I’ve never had fried ice-cream; maybe it’s an Australian thing. But Australia does have an egg problem. And in mid-August 2010, the New South Wales Food Authority received a complaint from a member of the public alleging foodborne illness from a restaurant in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. The complaint information was that a family group had been to the restaurant for deep fried icecream 112dinner about two weeks before and 7 individuals had become ill with gastroenteritis. Several people were hospitalized because of the gastroenteritis and stool samples had revealed the presence of Salmonella bacteria.

The food history supplied to the Authority by the complainant indicated that the only person not ill in the party was the one who did not consume fried ice-cream. Officers from the Authority went to the restaurant that evening to interview the management and staff, inspect the kitchen, and take environmental and food samples for microbiological analysis.

The Authority received a second complaint two weeks later regarding another family group that had 4 members ill with gastroenteritis. This family group had attended the restaurant and had also consumed fried ice-cream 5 days prior to the Authority’s inspection for the first complaint. One of these cases had tested positive for Salmonella after seeing a doctor.

The kitchen at the time of inspection had some minor construction and hygiene issues which were the subject of a subsequent Improvement Notice. The restaurant was advised to remove fried ice-cream from the menu until further notice.

Authority officers interviewed the restaurant manager and head chef regarding the processing of fried ice-cream from preparation to serving to customers. The uncooked fried ice-cream coating was found to be made with raw eggs which is a potential source of Salmonella. The cooking of the frozen coated ice-cream ball involved putting the food into hot oil in a wok and turning the ice-cream ball to ensure the egg coating is set before serving.

Authority officers took environmental swabs of selected areas of the kitchen and equipment. Food samples were also taken of the frozen uncooked ice-cream balls, uncooked coating fragments, a ‘test’ cooked fried ice-cream ball from the same uncooked batch and raw eggs present at the premises.

The sample of uncooked fried ice-cream balls stored for sale found in the freezer on the Friday night were most probably from the same batch as the ones that were consumed by the second group 5 days prior to the inspection. They were possibly from the same batch as those consumed by the group which first complained.

The samples of coating fragments, uncooked coated ice-cream balls and ‘test’ cooked ice-cream ball were all positive for the same strain of Salmonella. indicating that the wok frying to set the coating was inadequate to kill the bacteria. Further, DNA fingerprinting (MLVA) of the salmonella strain by the laboratory showed a match between the clinical samples taken from the Salmonella cases for both groups and the strain of Salmonella isolated from the food samples taken from the restaurant, strongly supporting the ice-cream balls with the egg coating being the culprit food.

The brief cooking in the wok of egg coated fried ice cream is insufficient to destroy Salmonella and is designed only to set the outer layer of the coating as any longer will melt the ice cream. Further cooking also darkens the coating making the food unappetizing and undesirable.

The Authority findings, including Salmonella-positive food sample results, support previous investigations both locally and overseas regarding the food safety risks of fried ice-cream prepared using raw eggs. If the Salmonella bacteria is present either on the outside of the shell or inside the egg, then pooling eggs for a coating will spread the bacterial contamination throughout the batch.

What should the business have done?

As well as other food safety practices: use pasteurised egg product or an alternative binding agent for the coating mixture instead of raw whole eggs.