Smallgoods pass safety test

Posted by Editorial on 17th August 2009

A food monitoring survey of packaged ready-to-eat meat products within the state of New South Wales found almost all samples complied with health standards.The NSW Food Authority survey showed just 7 of the 154 packaged smallgoods products surveyed were just above the regulatory limit for bacterial quality.

“The levels of bacteria found in these samples were very low and the Food Authority visited each of the premises where these meats were manufactured to ensure the producers were complying with safety standards,” NSW Primary Industries Minister, Ian Macdonald, advised. “Overall, the survey’s results are reassuring as these products are considered high-risk.”

“Like other pre-prepared, ready-to-eat foods, smallgoods can harbour a range of dangerous organisms – including certain harmful E coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter – which can cause serious food poisoning if not prepared or stored properly.”

The study tested the microbiological quality of smallgoods produced in Australia and sold in NSW. Samples included ham, pastrami, corned beef, roasted and dried meats, uncooked fermented meats, such as salami and cured meats like prosciutto and pancetta.

“From 1991 to 2008 there were 13 foodborne illness outbreaks in Australia attributed to smallgoods products, which led to over 460 people falling ill and three deaths,” Mr Macdonald added. “Many smallgoods are fermented, rather than cooked, requiring temperature to be strictly monitored during processing to prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria.”

The findings can be accessed here.