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Albert River sewerage spill

Safe Food Production Queensland (Safe Food) received advice on 12 April 2024 that there had been a sewerage spill in the Albert River. We immediately identified three prawn farm businesses accredited within the affected area and notified them along with other seafood producers the same evening.   

The Safe Food recommendation at that time was that all seafood products that had been harvested, caught, or farmed in the Albert and Logan River systems be placed on hold until health authorities were able to undertake a risk assessment to determine the impacts on public health. The decision to recommend product be placed on hold was precautionary and there were no known foodborne illness cases linked to this incident.

Over the last month we have been working closely with Queensland Health and the Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) to undertake a risk assessment. These agencies attended site investigations at the prawn farms with Safe Food where we assessed the effectiveness of risk management systems already in place and reviewed results from a range of chemical and microbiological sampling.  

It is important to note that as a result of these risk management systems, the prawn ponds’ water is substantially different and does not reflect of the environmental quality of the river systems. 

Independent sampling at all farms was conducted by Queensland Health to support river water monitoring by the GCCC. Based on the results of the investigation, Safe Food determined that the products from the farms met the requirements of the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code. 

In summary, the interventions in place to mitigate potential exposure to chemical and biological hazards from Logan and Albert River have been effective in managing the risk associated with this event. 

Safe Food advised our accredited farmers on 24 April 2024 that their product complies with the requirements of the Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Code and is suitable for supply. This advice remains as such.  

The assistance and cooperation provided from our accreditation holders during this event has been greatly appreciated and demonstrates the commitment to food safety and producing good quality produce.