Brisbane gleefully ignores foodborne illness

Want to eat off the same china as President Obama at last year’s G20?

The Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre is hiring out the dining room in its Plaza Gallery used by world leaders at the global powerfest.

g20.foodCentre general manager Bob O’Keeffe tells your diarist that guests can have the same menu and even sit in the same chairs used by Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders.

O’Keeffe recalls food for the leaders’ meals had to pass through several security check points before reaching the dining room.

Yeah, but they don’t do micro testing and aren’t capable of testing for idiocracy. This is the 21st century, not the 14th when food tasters were employed to check for poisons.

This same Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre was host of two Salmonella outbreaks earlier this year that sickened at least 254 people, including school principals at a conference. In response, the Centre struck custard from the menu.

It was probably raw eggs that made all those folks sick, but us Brisbane residents will never know because once an outbreak is publicly declared, it disappears. Maybe into the courts. Maybe into embarrassment-land.

I know Presidents of the U.S. have a food safety detail and would never allow raw eggs into a meal served to the Commander-in-Chief, but school principals?

Why not.

Make the full menu public and let us food safety types identify possible risks. I don’t care where Putin or Obama sat – possible skid marks – I care if your food is going to make me barf like those other 254 people.

‘Get out of Ukraine’ G20 leaders enjoy lavish seafood BBQ

The G20 is over, Brisbane is slowly returning to normal, but it was Canadian PM Stephen Harper who stole the show when he met blame_canadaRussia’s Putin and said, “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but get out of Ukraine.”

The leaders were treated to a seafood BBQ featuring Moreton Bay bugs, Mooloolaba king prawns, shucked oysters (hopefully they were cooked), and Tasmanian ocean trout.

We had our own Tassie trout on Saturday.


Gastro outbreak among G20 cops

Dr Jeannette Young’s worst nightmare may be coming true.

In the days leading up to the G20 summit in Brisbane, Dr. Young, Queensland’s medical officer of health, warned that foodborne illness was a much bigger threat than terrorism.

g20.securityToday at least 15 police officers in Brisbane have come down with a suspected case of gastro on the eve of the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

“We are getting on top of that very quickly to prevent it from spreading,” Dr. Young told reporters.

“When you’ve got large groups of people, particularly living in hotels and going to similar restaurants, we just want to sort this out quickly.”

In 1984, the Pope visited the restored 350-year-old Jesuit mission of Ste. Marie-among-the-Hurons in Midland, Ontario (that’s in Canada). After departing,1,600 hungry Ontario Provincial Police officers who had worked the ropes gathered for a boxed lunch. Of those 500 officers who chose ones with roast beef sandwiches, 423 came down with salmonella.

Those officers have shown, over the years, that a touch of the flu — as foodborne illness is often mistakenly called– is more than a couple of days praying at the porcelain goddess of foodborne illness.

Some 5-10 per cent of those police officers have developed reactive arthritis that will plague them for life.

Raw egg mayonnaise more of a G20 threat than terrorism

As Brisbane locks down for the G20 meetings this weekend, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Jeanette Young, stated this week that she was more concerned about the threat of raw egg mayonnaise than terrorism, with major hospitals primed to take action in the case of a mass food poisoning event.

g20.brisbane.14“I’m actually a little bit more worried about food poisoning than I am about other incidents, particularly we’ve seen quite a few outbreaks in Queensland over the last few years, mainly due to raw eggs,” Dr Young said.

We have a lot of problems with raw egg mayonnaise and we’ve seen quite a few incidents where hundreds of people have been impacted, so we certainly don’t want that to happen. I think that is a fairly realistic scenario, but very unlikely given the amount of work that’s been done. My personal view is we should all shy away from raw egg mayonnaise at all times,” she said.

Over 7000 dignitaries, foreign delegates and journalists are starting to arrive in Brisbane already in preparation for events leading up to the main G20 summit on Friday and Saturday this week.

raw.egg.mayoMany of the more high-profile guests will be bringing their own healthcare teams with them with the doctors being accredited by Queensland Health to practice medicine here. In the case of a serious illness or injury, the dignitary will be treated in a Brisbane Hospital.

I can’t imagine any of them allowing their leaders to eat a raw-egg based dish.

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