A food sample supplied by the family involved in the Coogee Bay Hotel ice cream complaint has tested positive for faecal matter, Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said today.
Minister Macdonald said preliminary laboratory test results carried out by the NSW Food Authority saw the sample test positive for bilirubin.
“Further DNA analysis by the Authority will now be conducted to determine if the sample is of human or animal origin,” Macdonald said.
“That test will take up to a week to complete.
“Obviously, we are keeping an open mind and do not want to pre-empt this investigation in any manner.
“Authority officers are continuing to conduct interviews with hotel staff and the family.”
They are also reviewing CCTV security videos and have inspected the hotel’s kitchen.
In a press release earlier today: Laboratory testing of the ice cream tub at the centre of the Coogee Bay Hotel controversy shows no faecal contamination, the hotel management said in a media release today.
In the release, the hotel management said the NSW Food Authority has begun its investigation and has unfortunately advised the hotel not to release the CCTV footage. The footage has been given to the NSW Food Authority who viewed the footage this morning.
Coogee Bay Hotel has also initiated contact with the police and welcomed their involvement.
Contrary to media reports, the hotel said that executive chef Adam Wood did not resign over the Whyte’s alleged incident. He tendered his resignation three weeks before and as a good will gesture agreed to stay on throughout the re-launch period until 17 October 2008.
Wood has left the hotel on good terms and has offered to be DNA tested, along with other staff, if required.
Also contrary to media reports, the hotel management said the CCTV footage provided to the authorities does not show CBH Restaurant manager Cherilyn Kennedy serving the ice-cream to the Whyte’s.
Coogee Bay Hotel management said it is very keen for the footage to reach the public domain, as soon as possible, and through the appropriate channels.
Coogee Bay Hotel is calling for the substance — that is now with the Food Authority — to be DNA tested as part of their laboratory reporting.
On October 5, the Whyte family were dining at the Coogee Bay’s brassiere and claimed that they were served chocolate ice cream that contained what smelled and tasted like human faeces. The incident had catapulted a series of disputes between the family and the hotel.