Contaminated stick blender cause of Brisbane Convention Centre food poisoning outbreak

04 November, 2015 by
Aoife Boothroyd

A food poisoning outbreak at the Brisbane Convention Centre earlier this year that left 250 people feeling ill and saw 24 people admitted to hospital was caused by a contaminated stick blender.

As reported by The Courier Mail, investigators found bacteria on a number of kitchen utensils which had incubated during the cooking process. Test results confirmed that the guests that fell ill were all affected by the same strain of salmonella found on a kitchen stick blender that was used to make bread and butter pudding.

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The audit also found salmonella on a larger robotic mixer and B.cereus on a smaller mixer, pastry brush and whisk.

According to the documents, investigators ruled out the possibility of contaminated eggs (before they were delivered to the Centre) as the cause of the contamination, concluding that “poor cleaning and sanitizing of the stick blender was the ultimate cause.”

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The documents also state that the Convention Centre has lost its five star food safety rating as a result of the incident. Brisbane City Council is yet to confirm as to whether it will prosecute the operators.

“Since the reported cases of illness, we have undertaken independent food safety audits, continued our testing processes for the sourcing, processing and delivery of safe food to our guests,” said Convention Centre general manager Robert O’Keeffe.

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“All of our cooking practices and processes are monitored and recorded on our 24-hour computerised food safety monitoring system.”

O’Keeffe said that the incident was the first to occur in the Convention Centre’s 20 year history, adding that the stick blender has since been removed and whole eggs taken off the menu.

“This means no eggshells, which potentially carry pathogens, will ever come into BCEC’s kitchens.”