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Unanderra wholesale bakery Betta Maid was shut down for seven hours on Wednesday and ordered to rectify hygiene and pest control issues as part of the investigation into the deadly salmonella outbreak which has struck Illawarra aged care centres.
The NSW Food authority on Wednesday confirmed it had issued a prohibition order against the business, effectively ordering it to cease operations and rectify the issues.
‘‘This business was inspected by NSW Food Authority staff as part of its broader investigation into suppliers of IRT,’’ a NSW Food Authority spokeswoman told the Mercury.
‘‘This business supplied a range of bakery products to a number of IRT facilities.’’
Late Wednesday the spokeswoman confirmed the company applied to have a reinspection and officers inspected the premises and found it to have passed.
A certificate of clearance was issued allowing the Prohibition Order to be lifted, she said.
However it is understood the Food Authority has recommended Betta Maid products not be reintroduced into high-risk environments such as aged care facilities until further testing is complete.
Samples have been taken from Betta Maid’s Unanderra premises to assist with the Food Authority’s investigation.
The Food Authority spokeswoman said it was important to note the enforcement action was not an indication of the source of the salmonella outbreak affecting the IRT centres but one aspect of the Food Authority’s broader investigation.
Betta Maid food safety officer and food technologist Anthony Peart said the problems arose from a gap in a roller door and concerns about pests entering the site.
‘‘This has been remediated and we were back in business later the same day,’’ Mr Peart said.
‘‘We are really proud of our operation and proud to be in the Illawarra where we have serviced the community for pushing 30years and never had a food safety incident.’’
Mr Peart said Betta Maid supplied meat pies, potato pies, sausage rolls and other baked products to IRT centres.
‘‘The products are fully baked and reheated by the aged care facility. They need to be cooked twice. The likelihood of Betta Maid products being the source of the outbreak are very remote,’’ he said.
IRT Group Chief Executive Nieves Murray said the Food Authority advised IRT on Tuesday night to withdraw all food products from Betta Maid Cakes and Pies.
‘‘We contacted all care centres straight away, advising them to immediately stop supply of the products on the menu and to quarantine any remaining products available at the sites,’’ Ms Murray said.
Food consumed by affected residents was part of the investigation being undertaken by the Public Health Unit, she said.
Two people have died after contracting the rare salmonella bovismorbificans strain. There have been 26 confirmed cases at 10 aged care centres.
Cases have been confirmed in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, ACT and south-eastern Sydney regions.
A prohibition order forbids the handling of food on a specified premises, vehicle or equipment, or requires that food may not be handled in a specified way or for a specified purpose.
Prohibition orders may be specifically directed, such as to apply to a specific piece of equipment or part of the premises, or be more broadly directed and applied to an entire premises.
An order remains in place until a certificate of clearance is issued following a request for inspection from the business.
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