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Hygiene failures in food service

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OzFoodNet (2006) estimates there are about 4.1 million cases of foodborne disease in Australia each year, with health system costs estimated to be $1.25 billion.

Where outbreaks are identified and investigated, the cause of the outbreak and details of what went wrong can often be determined. Having identified what went wrong, the objective is to prevent a recurrence.

This report considers some recurring problems identified in food businesses, and suggests measures that can be used to address them to prevent foodborne illness.


The NSW Food Authority has summarised information from several sources about what causes food poisoning.

While any error could lead to a case of foodborne illness, large outbreaks are often traced to a string of errors. The combination of a contaminated food plus temperature abuse can result in many sick people, including some who might develop serious side effects.

Food service businesses should not learn about food poisoning the hard way — as the result of an outbreak. Some simple measures can provide a very high level of protection against foodborne illness. The guide explains how, and contains references and further reading.

Table of contents:
What leads to foodborne illness?
Main factors contributing to Australian foodborne illness outbreaks
- The use of ingredients that are not safe
- Important agents of foodborne illness in Australia (1995-2008)
Some measures to reduce foodborne illness
Appendix: Case studies
- Case 1: Salmonella outbreak from contaminated aioli served in a bruger bar
- Case 2: Pre-cooked meats: Clostridium perfringens 

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