The Public Health Unit has seized a variety of food from Whitsundays businesses that was prepared while the ‘boil water’ alert was in place.
Acting Environmental Health Manager Brigid Fenech said food businesses had a responsibility to prepare food that is safe and suitable for public consumption.
Food seized in the past two days includes salad washed using non-potable water and about 40kg of meat products prepared during the boil water alert and a large quantity of other products subject to temperature abuse.
Ms Fenech said the food was prepared using an undistinguishable source of water and Public Health officers felt the risk of sale to the public was too great.
A truck carrying a quantity of restaurant food was also inspected and about 80% of the contents confiscated due to poor temperature control.
“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 5 degrees C 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 5 degrees C.”
Danielle Jesser, Media and Communications Manager
Phone 0417 756 221