GMI Food Wholesalers prosecuted for manufacturing chicken with deadly bacteria
NSW Food Authority has welcomed a decision in the Local Court to fine GMI Food Wholesalers Pty Ltd, trading as Australia Poultry and Food Wholesalers and its directors $236,000 plus legal costs for supplying pre-cooked chicken that was found to contain Listeria monocytogenes.
The chicken, which was used in wraps that were supplied for inflight meals on the Virgin Blue airline, contained bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes which is dangerous for pregnant women, newborns, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
Between December 2008 and June 2009, a foodborne illness outbreak resulted in 29 confirmed cases of listeriosis found in the airline’s passengers as a result of consuming chicken supplied by GMI Food Wholesalers Pty Ltd.
The bacterial “DNA fingerprint” of the strain of Listeria monocytogenes that were found in the chicken was linked specifically to the laboratory confirmed cases identified.
GMI Food Wholesalers Pty Ltd and its directors pleaded guilty to a total of 26 charges under the NSW Food Act 2003. The charges relate to a range of offences concerning the premises, production, packaging and sale of multi cut chicken breast.
Listeria monocytogenes is a type of bacteria that can be found in some foods which can cause a dangerous infection called listeriosis. While eating foods that contain Listeria monocytogenes rarely causes illness in most healthy adults, it can be serious in more vulnerable people.
NSW Food Authority is firm on its position that companies who breach the food safety requirements and risk public health be subject to enforcement, including prosecution, because it tarnishes the reputation of the vast majority of food businesses that are complying with requirements. The Authority is diligent in its investigation and enforcement to ensure food products are safe and that consumers are protected. NSW consumers have every right to expect that the food they buy is safe and that companies who have sold food that has made people ill are prosecuted.
Further information about food safety issues can be found on the NSW Food Authority website www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au
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