New Zealand: Bacteria warning over cream goodies

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4:00AM Monday Dec 15, 2008
By Brooke Donovan


Cream buns and custard squares might not just make you fat - they could even make you sick.

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority surveyed bakeries in five of New Zealand's largest cities and found some creamy treats were potentially hazardous.

The survey was carried out in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin between January and August last year.

The authority said 96 per cent of the 250 products tested were microbiologically safe.

But a few - 1.2 per cent of the overall survey - had unacceptable levels of the bacteria bacillus cereus.

The average cabinet temperature was 8C, instead of the mandatory 4C.

It said 4 per cent of the bakeries surveyed stored cream-filled products overnight for use the next day, and 28 per cent stored custard cakes.

Sixty-three per cent of bakeries did not use disposable piping bags for fillings, and reusing such equipment could lead to bacteria forming.

Dr Roger White, the authority's principal adviser on microbiology, said the bacteria found in the products caused mild but sudden vomiting.

It was heat-resistant so once it had formed on food, usually through cooling too slowly, it could not be removed. However, he said only a small number of bakeries had needed reminding of the rules.



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