Food poisoning scare at Queensland Children’s Hospital

QUEENSLAND Health has confirmed sliced ham recently served to patients and families at the Queensland Children’s Hospital was contaminated with listeria.

The department on Friday revealed Listeria monocytogenes had been detected in a batch of commercial sliced ham that was served to patients and families at the hospital between May 10 and 20.

Sandwiches and salads containing the contaminated ham were served on platters and in snack boxes to patients and their families in inpatient wards and the emergency department.


The potentially deadly bacteria can be fatal to newborn babies, cause miscarriages in pregnant women and cause severe illness in the elderly and anyone with a weakened immune system.

In a statement, Queensland Healt said the ham was not served on the Bone Marrow Transplant ward, where patients would be most at risk due to their immunocompromised state.

“The contaminated ham was detected through routine food and safety testing at the hospital and removed from patient menus,” the department said.

“Children’s Health Queensland is working closely with the Chief Health Officer and the Metro South Public Health Unit to ensure the health and safety of all patients and families who may have consumed the sandwiches.

“As a precaution, patients and families who were in the affected wards and departments between 10 and 20 May are being contacted directly and made aware of the signs and symptoms of Listeriosis.”

Thankfully, so far no cases of Listeriosis-related sickness have been reported in or to the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Further testing has been undertaken to determine the source of the bacteria.

Listeria is a common bacteria found widely in the environment and is mainly spread by eating contaminated food.

Signs and symptoms of Listeriosis, which is successfully with antibiotics, include minor complaints such as fever, headache, aches and pains, vomiting and diarrhoea and can take between three and 70 days to appear.

Anyone who may have any of the above signs and symptoms and ate ham sandwiches or ham salad at the Queensland Children’s Hospital between 10 and 20 May is urged to seek medical advice from their local GP.