Food safety headlines World Health Day

With thousands of Queenslanders suffering from food-borne illness caused by contaminated food, food safety is set to be the main focus of World Health Day today.

In Australia there are at least 4.1 million cases of gastro each year and Health Protection Unit Executive Director Sophie Dwyer says with figures like this, it’s not
surprising it’s the focus.

“Food safety is clearly a worldwide concern, with over 200 diseases caused by unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses or chemical substances,” Ms Dwyer said.


“On average, there are more than 230,000 cases of Campylobacter and 55,000 cases of Salmonella in Australia each year.

“In Queensland, we’ve certainly seen a spike in numbers for these two diseases compared to the same time last year.

“This is a clear indication that people need to pay much more attention to the way they handle and prepare food.”

Ms Dwyer said she wanted to use World Health Day as a time to reinforce the message that people need to take care when handling all high risk foods.

“While many people suffering a food-borne illness experience mild symptoms and recover within a few days, severe cases can result in hospitalisation,” she said.

“Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in Australia, with more than 3200 people becoming so ill in 2014 that they ended up receiving hospital treatment.

“It is most commonly contracted and spread by preparing raw chicken.

“Recent Salmonella outbreaks in Queensland have been linked to production of products containing raw or under-cooked eggs, and cross contamination from poor hygiene,” she added.