Food Poisoning and Recalls

Sushi being held by chopsticks

Food poisoning is illnesses caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or drink. It is also sometimes called foodborne illness and it is quite common, affecting an estimated 4.1 million Australians each year.

Want to learn about food poisoning?

The NSW Food Authority website provides a lot of useful information that will help you better understand food poisoning. 

Most food poisoning is caused by harmful bugs (pathogens) getting into food. The most common types of food poisoning are:

  1. Bacterial eg Salmonella, Campylobacter, E.coli and Listeria
  2. Viral eg Norovirus, Rotavirus and Hepatitis A
  3. Intoxication caused by the toxins produced by some bugs such as Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus and Clostridium perfringens.

Did you know… it’s not always the last food you ate that causes food poisoning?

Learn more by watching the "Truth about food poisoning" short video available on the NSW Food Authority website.

Symptoms of food poisoning range from mild to very severe and usually take between a few hours to a few days to begin and may last for a few days, depending on the type of pathogen.

Symptoms often include one or more of:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headaches.

Food poisoning can be caused by:

  • Not cooking food thoroughly
  • Not storing food that needs to be chilled below 5°C
  • Someone who is ill or has poor hand hygiene handling the food
  • Eating food after a ‘use-by’ date
  • Cross contamination, where bacteria is spread between food, surfaces, utensils and equipment.

Higher risk foods include:

  • Undercooked mince and rolled, formed or tenderised meats
  • Raw or undercooked poultry such as chicken, duck and turkey
  • Raw or lightly cooked eggs
  • Foods made from raw egg such as unpasteurised mayonnaise
  • Smallgoods such as salami and hams
  • Seafood
  • Cooked rice not kept at correct temperatures
  • Cooked pasta not kept at correct temperatures
  • Prepared salads such as coleslaw, pasta salads and rice salads
  • Prepared fruit salads
  • Unpasteurised dairy products.

Food Recalls

A food recall is action taken by a food business to remove unsafe food from distribution, sale and consumption. All food businesses must be able to quickly remove food from the marketplace to protect public health and safety.

Food recalls in Australia are coordinated and monitored by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

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If you would like to stay informed about food recalls you can subscribe to the FSANZ food recall alert or RSS feed or like or follow FSANZ on Facebook or Twitter.

Want more information about food recalls including current food recalls? Visit the FSANZ website.