Australian pies pass safety test

Posted by Isobel Drake on 30th September 2009

Pie and sausage roll lovers can tuck into their favourite fare with confidence, after a new food safety survey gave a selection of bakery products an almost perfect score, NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said this week.A survey of 172 savoury pastry products by the NSW Food Authority showed 99.75 per cent were microbiologically safe.

Beer and meat pie

“This is a great result, it means consumers can be confident that their meat pie or other favourite bakery products are being made to the highest safety standards,” Mr Macdonald said. “Around 45 bakeries were randomly sampled across Sydney and regional NSW as part of the survey including bakeries in Griffith, Holroyd, Hornsby, Penrith, Ryde and Sutherland.”

“The reason we did the survey is because meat pies, sausage rolls, pasties and quiches can be potentially hazardous foods, because large temperature variations occur in their manufacture, which can lead to bacterial growth if not monitored.”

The survey took place over four months with scientists analysing the products for bacteria including E. coli and salmonella in the lab within 24 hours of purchase.

“In the last decade there have been two documented food poisoning incidents in Australia linked to contaminated meat pies from bakeries, the most recent was at a retail bakery in NSW in 2000,” Minister Macdonald noted. “There were no unsatisfactory or potentially hazardous samples in this survey, which is a great result.”

A questionnaire was also conducted which showed bakery food-handlers had a good awareness of the potential hazards and they used good production practices.

“It’s encouraging to see that bakery operators are complying with correct food handling, thanks to ongoing education initiatives by the NSW Food Authority and councils,” Mr Macdonald said.

The questionnaire revealed 87 per cent of bakeries discard left over pastries at the end of each day’s trade.

The Authority conducted a similar survey in July 2008 of mostly sweet bakery products, like custard and fresh cream-filled products, non-dairy baked goods and cheesecakes, which showed a 97.8 per cent satisfactory rating.

The survey found:

* 101 pies: Result = 100 (99%) good; 1 (1%) acceptable
* 38 sausage rolls: Result = 38 (100%) good
* 11 quiches: Result = 11 (100%) good
* 22 other products: Result = 22 (100%) good