Following the discovery of “organic” material in desserts at Adelaide’s Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) that police deemed deliberate, South Australia’s Health Minister Stephen Wade says the contaminants were not faeces.
Up until Nov. 7, police had not ruled out that the contamination could be faeces.
“It was placed in a small number of custard desserts, less than 10,” Wade said, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.
“I’m advised it was organic material and it wasn’t faeces,” he added.
Police said that in a routine daily safety check on Nov. 6, a hospital staff member had come across contaminants that were found in a “small number, under 10” of jelly desserts in the hospital’s kitchen.
The contaminants were described as “solid, organic-looking product” described as “very obvious” in appearance.
The organic materials would present a threat to the patients, because the custard jelly desserts had been made for those on special non-solid diets, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network chief executive Sue O’Neill said at a press conference.
“The bigger issue was probably chocking or aspiration from the contaminant,” she said. “It wasn’t a well-modified or thinned consistency.”
However, she also said that none of the desserts were given to patients, and all were due to be thrown away even prior to the discovery of the contaminants.
“We are satisfied that there are no patients who have been fed the contaminated foodstuffs,” acting Assistant Commissioner Joanne Shanahan said on Nov. 7. “No threat or claim has been made in connection with the discovery.”
O’Neill said that all other prepared food at the hospital was checked afterwards, but no other contamination was found.
“As a precaution, we cooked all new fresh meals and personally spoke to special diet patients to ensure they had no concerns with their meals,” she said.
“It is a disgusting, deliberate act of contamination, which we completely condemn,” Wade said, the ABC reported. “I’m very glad it was picked up and the investigation continues.”
The police will continue their investigation, which will include checking a security camera that had been overlooking the kitchen area where the contaminants were found.
“We’ve increased the supervision in relation to the assessment of food going out of our kitchens and we are working with the police in their investigation,” O’Neill said.
Police said the investigation is ongoing, and are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.