24 Sep Damage Control: Food Tampering
The big news in food this past week has brought a new fear to fruit, needles.
With the exhaustive media coverage you’ve probably already heard of the contaminated strawberries and copycat cases in other fruits. There have been reports of sewing needles found in fruits all over the country resulting from acts of deliberate food tampering. In an especially worrisome case a needle was found in a banana at an aged care facility in New South Wales.
The spread of copycat contaminations to various foodstuffs makes cutting out affected brands impractical and avoiding fresh fruit altogether is just not possible. There are, however, steps recommended by ACSA to best protect your residents and staff:
- Consider adding fresh fruit and vegetables as high-risk food items within food safety plans
- Undertake a risk assessment including reviewing your food safety plans
- Undertake additional training with food-handling staff
- Contact suppliers requesting written information on how they are managing risk
- Avoid serving whole fresh fruit and vegetables but instead cut up or chop fresh items prior to serving
- Communicate with staff, families and residents including encouraging them to cut or chop all fresh fruit or vegetables brought in
Ultimately, there is no quick fix solution to the commercial sabotage. It is just a matter of keeping calm, exercising caution and remaining vigilant.