Sydney restaurant found guilty of serving killer sauce

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 30th June 2008

A Coronial inquest has today established that asparagus sauce was to blame for the death of a diner at a popular Sydney restaurant.

81-year-old William Hodgins died last January just 12 hours after eating a meal which was covered in an asparagus sauce laced with bacteria. Two other people who ate the same meal also fell ill but have since recovered.

It was found that the sauce, served at Tables restaurant in Pymble, NSW, was made the day before it was served to Mr Hodgins and left out for too long before being served on his meal. Of greatest concern, however, was that it had been heated and cooled on a number of separate occasions, which one food inspector labelled as “temperature abuse”.

A NSW Food Authority investigation established that there were 9.8 million colony-producing units of the bacterium bacillus cereus per gram, placing it well into the contaminated range.

Coroner Jane Culver suggested that the case epitomised the need for food safety standards to be maintained at all times and believed that a lack of a label indicating the date made or a best before recommendation was part of the problem. Ms Culver added that greater training of restaurant employees was required to ensure such situations can be avoided in the future.

Mr Hodgins family are now reportedly considering legal action against the restaurant.