FDA photo by Michael J. Ermarth

FPSC: Cases of Salmonella anatum illness associated with salads recalled by Tripod Farmers on 4 February have increased.

While there are potentially more cases to emerge through ongoing testing during the follow up, it is expected that the rate of new cases that will be associated with this event has peaked and will start to decline.  The use-by date of any affected products has expired and the incubation time for symptoms to emerge is nearing the end.  So far ten cases have been confirmed with another 200 cases with probable association.

Richard Bennett of the Produce Marketing Association A-NZ and the Fresh Produce Safety Centre commented on the latest information releases from Victoria’s Acting Chief Health Officer, saying, “65 additional probable cases have been identified since the last numbers were released a week ago. That’s consistent with the bell curve expected of such an incident — a few early, a peak and then a tapering off to nil. We do not know if the additional cases have emerged evenly over the past week, or predominantly occurred earlier in the week. That would be interesting to know.

“Numbers will probably continue to grow slowly as the results of tests in the system are collated and linked to this incident. It takes time from when someone presents with illness to their doctor to when tests are undertaken and results reported to OzFoodNet, Australia’s foodborne disease surveillance network,” Mr Bennett added.

“Given that the last use-by date of product involved in the recall was 14 February, the shelf life of any remaining product in consumers’ refrigerators will have expired. Food regulators around the country continue to investigate the cause and extent of this event. The salad industry is cooperating fully with customers and regulators plus investing significant resources into understanding the issue and how to prevent it happening again,” Mr Bennett concluded.