Public Health England (PHE), The Food Standards Agency (FSA), Public Health Wales (PHW), Food Standards Scotland (FSS), Health Protection Scotland (HPS) and a number of local authorities are currently investigating the source of listeria infections linked to pre-packed sandwiches.
Sandwiches and salads linked to the cases have been withdrawn and the supplier, The Good Food Chain, has voluntarily ceased production while the investigation continues. This business had been supplied with meat produced by North Country Cooked Meats which subsequently produced a positive test result for the outbreak strain of listeria. This business and North Country Quality Foods who they distribute through, have also voluntarily ceased production.
The cases of listeria infection were in six seriously ill hospital patients in England. Three of these patients have sadly died. Currently there are no cases in Scotland or in Wales. Listeria infection in healthy people is usually either unnoticed or may cause very mild illness. However, it can have more serious consequences for some people, particularly those with pre-existing health conditions and pregnant women. The health risk to the public remains low and individuals should only seek medical attention if they develop symptoms.
The sandwiches and salads affected are no longer being produced while investigations continue and the affected products were withdrawn from hospitals when the links to the listeria infections were first identified.
Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director at the National Infection Service at PHE said:
Our thoughts are with the families of those patients who have died. We, along with the FSA, colleagues in local authorities and the NHS have worked quickly to determine the likely cause of this outbreak and taken action to reduce the risk to the public’s health.
To date, there have been no associated cases identified outside healthcare organizations, and any risk to the public is low.
Dr Colin Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer at the FSA said:
Our sympathies are with the families of those patients who have tragically passed away.
We have taken action along with local authorities to minimise the risk based on the evidence so far. The FSA will continue to investigate how the outbreak occurred and if further steps are required to protect vulnerable groups.
Tanya Marston, 38, was being treated for Crohn’s disease when she ate a contaminated sandwich at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent.
The hospital trust apologised to Ms Marston for the “additional stress and discomfort” she suffered.
Ms Marston said she was due to be discharged from a four-week hospital stay last month when her temperature “spiked”.
Medics took blood samples and she was later called back into hospital and given intravenous anti-biotics after tests showed she was infected.
‘I could have died.’ She said she “counts herself very lucky” her elevated temperature led to the infection being diagnosed.
“I’m really grateful that they took the blood cultures,” she said.
“If that hadn’t been done, I could be one of these people that has died.”
Listeria: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $650 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as deli meat, cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.
If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Listeria attorneys for a free case evaluation.