In February, 2019, an outbreak of salmonellosis in South Australia was linked to three Angkor Bakery stores in northern Adelaide. Following an investigation by SA Health, raw egg butter was determined to be the source of the outbreak.
By the end of the outbreak, 58 people had fallen ill and at least 19 were hospitalised. In a letter of apology, bakery owners apologised to their “dear and valued customers” and said that they hoped they would continue to have their trust and support.
In September, two of the owners — including father and daughter Hang Chour Keo and Lakhina Eung — and three other people were charged with failure to comply with food standards and providing unsafe food products; according to one of the owners, the damage to the business’s reputation had the most significant impact.
Outside of the Elizabeth Magistrates Court in South Australia, the owner told local media that the loss of public confidence following the outbreak led to plummeting sales; with the business in serious financial trouble, the owners were unable to afford legal representation and the family fell into discord. The case has been adjourned until November.
How to prevent a food poisoning outbreak
Food-borne illness outbreaks are a serious financial burden for everyone involved, from the individual who becomes ill to the taxpayer who will ultimately shoulder the cost of health care. A food business at the centre of an outbreak may be held liable for injuries or lost wages, and they may even face prosecution by local health authorities for failing to provide safe food.
The best way to avoid costly lawsuits, penalties, reputation damage and business interruption is to know your obligations, maintain food safety standards and ensure that everyone who handles food in the business has the skills and knowledge required to handle food safely.
Food Handlers must understand their responsibility to follow safe food handling techniques; they must be able to identify food safety hazards and know how to prevent them in order to protect customers from food poisoning and other health risks. Food safety training is the best and easiest way to ensure that food safety and hygiene standards are upheld in a food business.
For information about food safety and hygiene training, view the course pages for our nationally recognised Food Safety Supervisor course and Food Handling Certificate course.