ACT News


Suspected food poisoning hits guests at Canberra wake

Suspected food poisoning left most guests at a Canberra wake last week bedridden, with some interstate travellers having to delay trips home because of vomiting, a Canberra woman says.

Cheryle Parkes said 29 of the 40 guests had become sick after eating at her mother's wake at the Raiders Belconnen club in Kippax last Wednesday.

The 61-year-old Ngunnawal resident suspects chicken and egg sandwiches were the cause.

''My brother-in-law had such severe diarrhoea, my sister had shocking vomiting,'' Mrs Parkes said.

''Another lady, my sister's sister-in-law, said she'd never been so sick in her life. There were high temperatures, aching joints, massive headaches, cramps.''

Raiders club manager Craig Potts said staff were working with ACT Health. ''If there is an issue we need to deal with it, but currently they haven't given us any findings and therefore we are unable to deal further with this in this instance,'' he said.


''As soon as the findings are made available we will be in contact with the client we dealt with and will take any needed action as such.''

An ACT Health spokeswoman

would not comment on the specific complaint on Wednesday.

''ACT Health can confirm we are currently investigating a number of possible food poisoning outbreaks,'' the spokeswoman said in a statement. ''We are unable to comment on the source or cause of any alleged outbreaks.''

Mrs Parkes said one woman, who had travelled down from Sydney with her husband, remained ''very unwell'' on Saturday night after suffering vomiting for more than a day.

''She was blacking out on the floor in the bathroom,'' Mrs Parkes said.

''We had people from Melbourne who couldn't go back; they had to stay here a few extra days.''

While the $627 spread for the noon wake included a cake platter, hot foods and a cheese and dry fruit offering, Mrs Parkes said the sandwiches were the common denominator in those who had later become ill.

''The ones who didn't have sandwiches didn't get sick,'' she said.

''The people that went down first seemed to be the ones who had the chicken sandwiches, and then as I asked around some people had had the egg sandwiches.''

Mrs Parkes said most family members who ate the sandwiches had missed three days of work, and she remained less than 100 per cent herself, despite missing the worse of the poisoning.

''I had a quarter of a quarter of a chicken and mayo sandwich,'' she said.

''I'd say [mayonnaise] is in the egg too.''

The grandmother - who has catering experience - called ACT Health on Friday morning, and investigations were completed in the following days.

The health authority said in an email on Tuesday the matters had been investigated and the Health Protection Service ''is taking appropriate action to remedy these matters''.

Mrs Parkes said she was disappointed by the lack of detail.

''What did they find? I need to know what has made us sick,'' she said.

Mrs Parkes said she wanted a refund from the Raiders club for the aftermath of the important day.

''You go to celebrate your mother's life and everyone's ill, and you're apologising to them for being so sick,'' she said.

Home-made mayonnaise was to blame last year when 140 diners fell ill and 15 were admitted to hospital after eating at the Copa Brazilian Churrasco restaurant on May 12.

The food poisoning - attributed by ACT Health to the raw eggs used in the dressing - was Canberra's largest ever outbreak of salmonella.