A 91-year-old woman has died after contracting Salmonella from eating food prepared in a kitchen used by a Meals on Wheels service provider in Melbourne. According to authorities form the Victorian Department of Health, the woman contracted the disease after consuming food at the Bob Hawke Community Centre in Coburg in December.
The woman was one of the 14 people who contracted the disease at the same source in December. The other 13 became sick after eating food delivered to them by Meals on Wheels, 9News reports.
The 91-year-old’s children said that she became a volunteer in the late 1970s. She also had a good relationship with the staff. “Our mother believed the Meals on Wheels service was incredibly important to Moreland’s elderly citizens. She had a wonderful relationship with the staff at the Bob Hawke Centre and considered them as her friends, as do we,” stated the family.
The Department of Health says that they became aware of the food poisoning that month after they heard numerous cases of the outbreak. The authorities determined a link but they did not realize immediately what the actual cause of the outbreak was.
“Moreland City Council has willingly co-operated with the Health Department and maintained regular contact with our family during this difficult time. All internal testing has shown no source of contamination within the Bob Hawke Community Centre. Our family has full confidence in the Meals on Wheels service and we only hope that our statement is given the same media coverage as the negative media coverage released thus far,” the family said in a statement.
“This long-standing relationship between the Meals on Wheels service and our family makes it extremely difficult for both parties. We ask that our family and the staff of the Bob Hawke Centre be given both space and respect at this time.”