“Would you like some dip with those maggots?” is essentially the only way to bring some humour into a situation when maggots appear on a meal you are serving. This precise incident did occur for staff at a Sydney pub, who had to admit they served a steak riddled with larvae to unsuspecting customers.
The unfortunate recipient was Stella Kim, who still gets ill when recounting the night of her anniversary. A special night turned sour to say the least.
For the Ranch Hotel, located on Sydney’s north shore, the PR disaster relief is not going to be enough to save the face of the establishment.
The pub insists they are adamant about food safety, but also admit to letting these larvae sneak onto the meat before being served up.
Kim had picked the hotel as the romantic location to celebrate 1,000 days with her partner Sushil Lamichhane.
Both ordered steaks, but when they arrived it did not take long to notice the little critters.
“I couldn’t believe if this was real. It was horrible, unbelievable,” said Kim to News.com.au.
“maggots were crawling over and there was a lot of them. IT was like a rotten carcass.”
The Facebook video gives a good enough idea of what it looked like for the couple, who lost their appetite for a few days afterward.
The Ranch Hotel is one of the most pre-eminent establishments in Australia. It is owned by Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH) Group, which is a collaboration between the Mathieson Family and Woolworths, a major retailer.
The pub issued a statement from management on their website shedding more light on the situation. Apparently of the 262 steaks, they sold that day, only one was returned for cleanliness reasons.
“Our investigation concluded that the incident was due to blowfly larva laid after the meal was cooked, as it is not possible for larvae to survive the cooking process,” read the statement.
“All our kitchen staff are experienced and accredited in food safety and The Ranch stands by its food safety record and processes.”
The pub also reached out to apologize to Kim as well as report their own mishap to local government.
The rationale given by the Pub has not convinced Ms. Kim. “The Ranch has been saying this happened instantaneously and worms burst out somewhat like the Big Bang that created our universe,” says Kim.
“If someone is (an) expert in biology and thermodynamics, please review the video so that they are educated on food handling.”
This echoes the attitude many customers of the pub have towards the rationale given by the pub – and like Kim, some of them may avoid The Ranch all-together in future because of it.
However, another example of maggots in steak indicates The Ranch was correct in their assessment.
In July, a family in Melbourne found maggots in a steak they bought in the supermarket that emerged only after cooking.
The meat had a couple of weeks before it was past its use date, and was just kept in the fridge before barbequing to keep it fresh.
According to the Skye Blackburn, an expert in entomology in the employ of food chain Aldi, has taken a closer look at the meat supplied to the family.
“It is most likely that the eggs had been laid after this meat had been cooked, and the heat of the meat has accelerated the hatching of the eggs,” says Blackburn.
Blackburn went on to explain in more detail. “Heat allows eggs the potential to hatch within minutes of being laid. Due to higher than average temperatures we’re experiencing at the moment, it is common for the life cycle of insects to occur more quickly.”