Australian Financial Reviews title The pizza apocalypse is here to stay?
article It is time to call it quits, according to Australia’s chief food safety regulator.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it will not be taking any action against Pizza Hut for failing to keep its products safe, and the company has already announced it is taking a “zero-tolerance approach” to food safety.
The regulator’s statement comes as the pizza industry is facing an unprecedented level of pressure, after a spate of reported outbreaks, with the death toll expected to climb into the hundreds over the coming months.
Its website lists more than 40 food and drink items it is investigating for safety issues, and there are fears the number of reported cases could reach thousands.
The Food Standards Agency has reported a surge in food-borne illness cases in Australia, particularly in metropolitan areas, in the last week.
The ABC has learnt there have been more than 500 food-related deaths in Australia since the start of the year.
Food safety experts say a shortage of inspectors, poor staffing and a lack of adequate funding are all contributing factors.
It comes after the federal government announced last week it would increase the number that could inspect food products in the retail food supply chain from 25 to 50.
It is the latest move to tackle a food safety crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of people across the country affected.
“The number of foodborne illness reports that have been reported to the ACFC have risen significantly in recent months, and are now over 1,000 per day,” the agency’s website said.
“This is because there is more and more food being sold to the public, and people are more likely to be exposed to the food and the people eating it.”
What is pizza?
The Australian National University’s Food Lab says the term “pizza” refers to “a large rectangular, flat slice of bread with a thick, crusty exterior”.
Pizza is made from a mixture of ingredients, including pizza sauce, flour and cheese.
But while the pizza pie is widely enjoyed in the United States, in Australia the name has become synonymous with pizza, as it is also known in the UK, the United Kingdom, Italy and Australia.
Pizza has become the fastest-growing segment of the Australian pizza industry, and more than half of all pizza pies sold in Australia are made from scratch.
In recent years, there have also been a number of incidents in which people have been sickened after eating food made from pizza ingredients, with at least five cases in the past week.
Pizzas in Australia were made from flour and other ingredients sourced from Europe and North America, as well as meat.
“These are products that are being used more often in the Australian food supply, which means the risk is there for people who might have eaten them in the previous two or three days to be more susceptible,” the ABC’s food safety analyst and food safety specialist, Dr Andrew Ritchie, said.
Dr Ritchie said there was a “growing awareness that these are unsafe ingredients, and that there are not enough inspectors, and resources to do what we need to do.”
“But that’s going to be a challenge as more and less people are consuming these products,” he said.
Mr Ritchie says Australia needs to focus on the ingredients that are safe and not the products that contain them.
“You can’t go to the supermarket and buy pizza made from eggs, dairy and sugar, because those are all very toxic ingredients,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“So we need some kind of regulatory regime that we can work with to get those things in to the market.”
Food safety expert Dr Christopher Pinto agrees.
“I think the Australian public needs to have a little bit more confidence in the safety of the products they buy, and not rely on what we are told is safe,” he explained.
“In general, I think we have a bit of a problem with people being lulled into complacency.”
He also said that consumers needed to look for quality products, rather than just the cheapest ones.
“We’ve got to be really cautious about what we buy,” he warned.
“There are very few foods that are truly safe to eat, and I think that’s why we have the pizza problem.”
The ABC contacted Pizza Hut but has yet to receive a response.
Topics:food-safety,health,pizza,food-industry,australiaFirst posted February 16, 2018 14:35:22Contact Ashley Goss at [email protected]