Aussie salmonella scare could spread to Asia

The recent Australian salmonella outbreak linked to leafy vegetables could spread to Asia via exported produce.

As Adelaide Now reports, the outbreak is thought to have originated from Bacchus Marsh’s Tripod Farms.

As the SMH reports, a Senate Estimates hearing has now been told that 23 consignments of Tripod Farms’ produce which could also be affected by salmonella have been exported to Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand.

"We have written to those three countries involved, with 23 identified consignments that may contain lettuce from that particular establishment," Chris Parker, assistant secretary of the Department of Agriculture’s plant export operations branch told the hearing.

"This is regular business that we would clearly notify our trading partners when issues may or may not arise and it is something they would do for us as well."

To date, 128 Australians have been affected by the outbreak.

Vegetable grower body AUSVEG is urging Australian consumers to continue buying the fresh and pre-packaged vegetable products despite the problem.

“The events of last week have had a substantial impact on growers around the country, including in states unaffected by the recall, and AUSVEG is calling on Australian consumers to throw their support behind the Australian vegetable industry and continue to buy locally-grown produce,” AUSVEG National Manager – Scientific Affairs Dr Jessica Lye said in a statement.

 “This recent recall is not indicative of a systematic food safety issue in the vegetable industry – it is limited to one supplier, and all affected product has been taken off the shelves.”

Salmonella outbreak: Lite n’ Easy warns customers not to eat salad in its meals

Lite n’ Easy has warned its customers not to eat the salad component of meals delivered this week because it may be contaminated with salmonella.

The diet meal delivery service said it used the same lettuce supplier –Victorian company Tripod Farmers –linked with a salmonella outbreak that has so far infected 28 people, with two admitted to hospital.

Lite N’Easy customers who have received salad lunches from this week’s menu are affected.

“Whilst we have had no related report of illness to date, we recommend that, if you have already consumed the lunch and have any concerns regarding your health, you should consult with your doctor or medical practitioner,” the notice reads.

Affected customers can contact Lite n’ Easy with their full name and delivery address to receive a refund.

“We would like to assure all of our customers that we have taken immediate steps to replace the lettuce supplier in question with a new supplier and that any salad meals in next week’s menu will not be affected by the current recall,” it said.

Coles and Woolworths issued a national recall of pre-packaged lettuce and salad on Thursday evening, with use-by dates leading up to and including February 14. All states and territories are affected, except Tasmania and Western Australia.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services said it had identified a number of cases of the infection linked to lettuce grown and packaged by Tripod Farmers.

Its senior medical adviser Dr Finn Romanes said the department became aware of the link between the outbreak and the bacteria at Tripod Farmers in Bacchus Marsh, in Melbourne’s outer-west.

Since then, the department has been working with the company on a recall of affected products.

Angus Harris of the Harris Farm chain said: “This is a very serious matter. Our salads are not part of the recall, we buy nothing from this supplier. Despite this, we think it’s worth washing all salad items with water before use.”

Woolworths is recalling five products in NSW, Victoria and the ACT with use-by dates of February 14 or earlier.

100g bag Select Fresh Cut Baby Spinach100g bag Select Fresh Cut Salad Mix100g bag Select Fresh Cut Baby RocketLoose Baby SpinachLoose Mesclun

Coles said it was recalling the following pre-packed bags of salad in NSW, Victoria, ACT, Northern Territory and South Australia with use by dates of or before February 11.