Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, delivered the following statement to Parliament. Please see full video above.
“Despite allergen safety needing to be taken extremely seriously, concerned constituents have provided me with photographic evidence showing the dividers between shellfish and other seafood in the Woolworths deli insufficiently high enough to prevent cross contamination. Indeed the photos even show crayfish tails physically touching scale-fish.
“And that’s a big deal because, according to the National Allergy Centre of Excellence, shellfish is one of the most common food allergies in Australia, and a major cause of food-induced anaphylaxis, with symptoms including breathing difficulties, shock, severe swelling, nausea, dizziness, and even death.
“Now I’ve raised these concerns with Woolworths and the Federal Health Minister, but in both cases the response could only be characterised as dismissive. Yes I understand the threat of cross contamination can never be fully eliminated. But for Woolies to not take this matter seriously, for example by installing higher barriers as Coles has done and training staff better is, quite frankly, dangerous and disappointing in the extreme.
“Indeed Woolworths is playing Russian roulette with the public’s safety, which is why I urge the Government to take immediate action and amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to require much more effective separation of shellfish from other foodstuffs. Because the issue here isn’t about hygiene, it’s about a genuine and serious threat to human life.”