Violation of good food practices sent 55 people attending a seasonal
office Christmas party to hospital after an aggressive outbreak of food
This group of party-goers in the US came down with symptoms so
persistent that 25 of them had to be hospitalised. Following this incident in
Florida, the local government authorities have opened a case to quickly find
the root of the problem.
Susan Kocay, the owner of the company that provided catering for
the event, Kitchen Divas, explained that the food for the event was stored at
her home. This was not only bad practice but also a serious breach of regulations
governing industrial food storage and transportation.
Dain Weister, public information officer for the Florida Department of
Health explained that any outbreak of food poisoning could be due to negligence
from a number of stakeholders.
Bacterial contamination is suspected to be the cause of this food
poisoning incident. Bacterial build-up in the food can result from cross-contamination
and insufficient tracking of changes in temperature, significantly increasing
the chances of food poisoning.
Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as ‘staph’, is one of the most
common bacteria that build up in incorrectly prepared and transported food. According
to the Florida Department of Health, staph was the most likely cause of the latest
outbreak of illness.
Using data loggers to monitor temperatures of stored food in a
professional environment can help reduce the occurrence of these incidents.
Any violation of Food Safety Standards in Australia will result in fines
for companies. To avoid a similar incident, all businesses involved in the
preparation of food should use devices such as the testo 175 T2 temperature
data logger, which features a probe to measure the core temperature of produce,
ensuring that the risks of bacteria build-up can be controlled and minimised.