Council's Environmental Health Officers are responsible for investigating food related complaints such as food poisoning, contaminated food (ie. a piece of metal in a cake), poor food handling practices, food spoilage (ie. mouldy bread) and unclean premises.
Many people have suffered food poisoning or know someone who has. Food does not need to be spoiled, it can look, smell and taste fine but can still cause food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, fever and chills, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal pain, bloody stools, headache, lethargy and loss of appetite. Food poisoning occurs when food is consumed that has not been prepared, stored, displayed or transported safely. The time between eating the food and the appearance of the first symptoms may be as short as one hour or as long as a week or more. This means that the last meal you ate may not necessarily be the culprit.
If you have a food complaint there are several things you can do to help the Environmental Health Division conduct their investigation:
- Place any contaminated/left over food in the freezer until an Environmental Health Officer comes to collect it
- Keep any packaging and proof of purchase to help identify what the product is and where it was purchased from
- If possible, do not remove the foreign object from the food
- Write down the details of where you purchased the product and the time you purchased it, how you transported the product home, where you stored it and when you noticed the foreign object. If you suspect food poisoning, try and remember what you had eaten the 7 days before you became ill and write this down. This will help the Environmental Health Officer investigate possible sources of your illness
If you think you are suffering from food poisoning, please consult your doctor and contact the City of Mitcham on 8372 8888.
For further information on the bacteria that causes food poisoning and ways to prevent it within the home and food business, please visit the SA Health website.