FOOD CRISIS: Vendors caught out selling tainted products

Inspectors seize food not kept at the correct temperature.
Inspectors seize food not kept at the correct temperature. Trevor Veale/ The

PUBLIC health officers have seized about 40kg of meat and other food stuff from vendors who failed to comply with safety standards.

The main reason for the seizures is because vendors were preparing food without boiling water, while a boiling alert was in place, or failing to keep meat products at safe temperatures.

A truck carrying restaurant food was also inspected and about 80% of the contents confiscated due to poor temperature control.

Acting Environmental Health manager Brigid Fenech said the food was confiscated because officers felt the risk of sale was too great.

"Queensland Health Environmental Health officers, in partnership with the local councils, are out and about in cyclone affected communities to protect the public and prevent the sale of potentially contaminated food," Ms Fenech said.

"Food businesses are being educated about the risk of food preparation with compromised water supply, and the threat to the public," she said.

Public health staff are also ensuring food businesses have a constant supply of electricity - mains or generator power - to ensure the cold chain and the temperature of food is maintained. 

Ms Fenech said that in the home situation, if power was interrupted for more than a day, the food in fridges may not be safe to eat. 

"Once power fails, we would advise residents not to open their fridge or freezer doors unnecessarily," she said.

"Refrigerated food will spoil sooner than frozen food, so people should eat any perishable foods in their fridge first - such as dairy products and meat.

"If your power is off for more than 36 hours, and you have not kept your freezer stocked with ice, food will start to spoil and should be eaten immediately or thrown out.

"Most importantly, people should throw out any food that has been at temperatures about five degrees Celsius for more than four hours.

People need to realise food may smell and appear okay, but it still may be dangerous if it hasn't been kept below five degrees Celsius."

Topics:  cyclone debbie editors picks queensland health

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