The criminal trial of Canberra’s Copa Brazilian Churrasco Restaurant will be delayed until next year.
In May 2013, over 100 people were reported to have contracted food poisoning after eating potato salad at the venue which was made with bad raw egg mayonnaise. The restaurant’s owners pleaded not guilty to charges of selling unsafe food likely to cause physical harm.
The Canberra Times has reported that the proceedings have been delayed until February 2016 so that further expert evidence can be obtained.
The restaurant, which is listed as Zeffirelli Pizza Restaurant Pty Ltd, is facing criminal charges over the salmonella outbreak as ACT food safety laws specify that someone can be criminally charged if they knowingly or negligently sell unsafe food.
In addition to the criminal action, the restaurant’s owners have also faced civil action believed to be the largest of its kind in the ACT. The civil action has already seen the restaurant pay out an estimated $1m in damages. This is in addition to a ruling in November 2014 which saw the venue pay out two more victims $5,446 and $5,379 respectively. Both victims are juveniles and as such will not receive payment until they reach the age of 18 due to infant settlement laws.
Following the 2013 outbreak, an ACT Health investigation found a Victorian egg supplier to be responsible. The ACT’s Chef Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly confirmed that the eggs used in a mayonnaise were the cause of the outbreak of salmonella food poisoning that affected more than 100 people and saw 15 people hospitalised.
The Restaurant apologised to customers and removed all raw egg from its menu following the incident but has since closed its doors.