Australians outraged over Sausage Sizzle safety ruling

Posted at 5:29 PM, Nov 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-25 18:29:03-05

(CNN) -- Australia residents have expressed outrage after a leading home improvement store announced plans to alter its renowned hot dogs and place onions on the bottom, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison even weighing in on the debate.

Bunnings hardware store has faced a sharp backlash from angry customers after the company confirmed on Tuesday that it had ordered its beloved Sausage Sizzle sandwiches to be altered.

The Sausage Sizzle sandwich is made of a sausage -- or snag, as the Aussies call them -- wrapped in bread, with onions typically placed along the top.

The company has since stipulated that fried onions must be placed in the bun first to avoid them falling onto the floor, creating a potential safety risk.

"Safety is always our number one priority and we recently introduced a suggestion that onions be placed underneath sausages to help prevent the onion from falling out and creating a slipping hazard," Debbie Poole, chief operating officer of Bunnings, said.

"This recommendation is provided to the community groups within their fundraising Sausage Sizzle welcome pack and is on display within the gazebos when barbecues are underway."

Thousands of charities apply to run Sausage Sizzle stalls outside the company's 294 stores every week, and receive all the money they raise through sales.

Poole said she was confident the new serving would not affect the success of the community fundraisers or the taste of the hot dogs.

"Regardless of how you like your onion and snag, we are confident this new serving suggestion will not impact the delicious taste or great feeling you get when supporting your local community group," she said.

Australians nevertheless took to social media to express their disbelief at the sudden change, with one Twitter user branding the move "lefty lunacy."

"I want to know which committee of do-gooder, micro-managing public nuisances in head office sat around and decided that onions on a sausage sizzle at Bunnings are a slipping hazard," one social media user said.

Another asked: "Wondering how many people have actually slipped on a stray onion at Bunnings to require this level of sausage sizzle intervention?"

Others expressed concern that placing onions underneath the sausage would leave the bread soggy, increasing the risk of the whole hot dog collapsing.

The announcement caused such ripples in Australia that the Prime Minister was even questioned about the policy change during a press conference at the ASEAN summit in Singapore on Tuesday.

He said: "Whether the onions are on top or underneath, I'll always be buying sausages on bread, whether it's at the football, whether it's at Bunnings or anywhere I can assist those great charitable causes.

"And, can I particularly say to those who are cooking them who are out there supporting their local sporting teams, charities and all the rest of them, how good are you. People of all ages do this, it's part of our Australian life that we support local community organizations. It's part of what we do and I'm not going to give them any recipe hints."

The news also drew the attention of New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who described it as the "most pressing international or trans-Tasman news of the day."

She said: "I think we should make a joint commitment that on our watches, the Bunnings Sausage Sizzle shall continue."

Morrison concurred, saying: "I agree, I agree."