Maggot found in sushi roll
Chloe McSaveney is having trouble eating after a horrifying experience where she bit into a sushi roll and found a maggot insidePT2M6S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2yfc9 620 349 November 29, 2013
A sushi company that served a maggot-infested crispy chicken roll to a Melbourne student has previous food hygiene convictions, it has been revealed.
Testing has confirmed the presence of fly larvae in food bought from Sushi Sushi in Maribyrnong's Highpoint shopping centre.
On Friday the company’s general manager Paul Grixti said “in 15 years of trading …. this was the first food safety incident they had ever had”.
But Sushi Sushi was forced to change their statement when The Age was made aware of an incident in March this year where the owner of the Glenferrie store was fined $18,000 over hygiene issues.
The franchise store was convicted of nine offences, including failing to take all practicable measure to prevent pests entering the premises.
Mr Grixti said there was also another case last year at the Doncaster Sushi Sushi at Stockland The Pines Shopping Centre.
“It related to a couple of procedures that weren’t followed,” he said.
When asked about the inaccuracy in his original statement, Mr Grixti said he had meant to say this was the first incident where larvae had been found in the food.
Last month Chloe McSaveney was horrified to discover two halves of a maggot crawling across her Sushi Sushi roll at the Maribyrnong food court.
"I looked and saw two things wiggling around ... I spat out what I had in my mouth," she says.
At a table Highpoint shopping centre during a busy lunch hour last month, the university student started to splutter and panic.
When her boyfriend demanded an explanation from the shop, Sushi Sushi staff threw the roll in the bin, and offered a refund, Ms McSaveney said.
Highpoint centre staff rushed her to the medical clinic upstairs and retrieved the infested sushi roll. It was whisked away by Maribyrnong Council health inspectors for analysis in a laboratory.
Two weeks later, the results were in – fly larvae. Maggots.
"The laboratory found a single live maggot in the sample provided," said the council's environmental health officer, Jonathan Brett.
"The presence of a maggot is unlikely to cause physical harm."
Ms McSaveney said she was still reeling from the emotional impact.
"The mental side of things is still affecting me now. I'm having trouble eating – I'm only eating about half of what I normally eat, and I'm struggling to be confident my food isn't ridden with maggots."
Ms McSaveney said she did not want the issue to be "brushed aside" and forgotten.
In a statement released on Friday, Mr Grixti said Sushi Sushi was taking the matter very seriously.
"Immediately after we were told of the incident, we ordered a total recall of all food products from the store concerned both cooked and uncooked," Mr Grixti said.
"We fully understand Ms McSaveney's concerns and we would like to stress our concern for the trauma this incident has caused.
"Even though the council's environmental health officer has confirmed that the presence of one single maggot is highly unlikely to cause any physical harm, we are determined to take whatever steps we must to ensure this cannot happen again and customers can continue to have confidence in the safety of all our products."
Mr Grixti said the company were bringing in extra food safety measures, in addition to the requirements of the health department.
“We are trying to be the leaders of the industry but unfortunately this was an isolated incident,” he said.
Chloe McSaveney ... horrified by the discovery of maggots in her sushi. Photo: Simon Schluter
Maribyrnong Council sustainable development director Nigel Higgins said its investigation into the maggot-infested sushi roll served at Highpoint was ongoing with the co-operation of both parties.