Food Survey Reports 2004-2005

Raw Fish Survey Report - Incidence of Salmonella in Raw Fish Fillets

July-September 2004

Objective

To determine the incidence of Salmonella species

  • in retail raw fish fillets available in the ACT; and
  • a small number of wholesale Ling fish fillets.

Background

In the early months of 2004 there was an increase in the incidence of Salmonella typhimurium 197 (STM197) clinical cases across Australia (1). In April 2004 there were five reported cases of STM197 in the ACT, four of these cases had visited a particular restaurant. Food samples taken by Environmental Health Officers from the premise revealed STM 197 in a frozen Ling fish fillet. This isolation raised the question of what is the prevalence and significance of Salmonella sp in raw fish fillets in Australia. Apart from the Heinitz paper (2) the literature on the subject is limited and not generally quantitative.

The literature indicates that fish can carry Salmonella sp, particularly if they are caught in areas contaminated with faecal pollution. Deep-sea fish are generally Salmonella sp free but susceptible to contamination post-catch (4).

Australian data from Medical Diagnostics Unit in Melbourne indicates that Salmonella sp are uncommon in fish while Salmonella typhimurium strains are very uncommon (1). The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) does not require testing for Salmonella sp in imported fish and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) considers the public heath risk posed by the presence of Salmonella sp in fish as low. This estimate takes into account the severity of any adverse heath effect resulting from the presence of Salmonella sp in the fish fillet, together with the likelihood of that adverse health effect occurring.

Raw Fish Survey Report July-Sep 2004

Ready-to-eat food survey report - Microbiological quality of ready-to-eat foods

July 2004 - June 2005

Objective

Determine the bacteriological status of ready-to-eat food products available on the ACT market.

Determine the compliance of these products to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Draft Guidelines for the Microbiological Examination of Ready-to-Eat Foods.

Background

"Ready-to-Eat" (RTE) food is food that is ordinarily consumed in the same state as that in which it is sold or distributed and does not include nuts in the shell and whole, raw fruits and vegetables that are intended for hulling, peeling or washing by the consumers." 1

Sandwiches, rolls, stir-fries, baked goods as well as various other RTE foods are widely available in approximately 450 ACT establishments of which approximately 250 are considered high risk. Due to the diverse nature and popularity of these foods it was considered prudent to perform ongoing surveys on these products in conjunction with the Environmental Health Section Premises Auditing Program of high-risk food producing establishments.

Ready to Eat Food Survey Report 2004-2005