Aged care providers warned on food safety after needle found

The fruit tampering crisis has spread to a NSW aged care facility with the discovery of a needle in a banana in a resident’s room.

Aged care facilities have been advised to review food safety protocols after a needle was found in a banana in a resident’s room.

The contaminated banana is one of a spate of fruit tampering incidents that started with the discovery of needles in strawberries in Queensland last week. Needles have since been found in other fruits across the country.

The needle was found in a NSW aged care facility on Tuesday and the matter is being investigated by police, the federal health department says.

“The Department urges all aged care approved providers and residents to exercise caution and cut up their fruit before consumption,” it said in a statement.

“We stress the importance of vigilance to manage the safety and well being of residents.”

A NSW police spokeswoman told Community Care Review police were not commenting on individual incidents but confirmed a number of reports had been received and each was being taken seriously.

“Police have received more than twenty reports across NSW. Each incident is being investigated thoroughly,” she said.

ACSA has advised members to review their food safety protocols in light of the incident.

Food safety recommendations

  • Consider adding fresh fruit and vegetables as high-risk food items within  food safety plans
  • Undertake a risk assessment  including reviewing your food safety plans
  • Undertake additional training with food-handling staff
  • Contact suppliers requesting written information on how they are managing risk
  • Avoid serving whole fresh fruit and vegetables but instead cut up or chop fresh items prior to serving
  • Communicate with staff, families and residents including encouraging them to cut or chop all fresh fruit or vegetables brought in

Aged care providers are urged to contact their peak bodies for more information.

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Tags: acsa, banana, food-tampering, needles,

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