Public Health England are investigating after three people died from eating pre-packed sandwiches.
The three that died had eaten sandwiches infected with Listeria which can be fatal if the person has a pre-existing health condition, in total 6 people had been infected and the other 3 individuals are currently described as seriously ill.
All sandwiches and salads linked to the cases have been withdrawn by the supplier.
The supplier ‘The Good Food Chain’ voluntarily withdrawn the food so that an investigation can get underway, soon after it Listeria was found in meat from a producer called ‘North Country Cooked Meats’
The risk to the public is still deemed as low.
Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director at the National Infection Service at Public Health England PHE said: Our thoughts are with the families of those patients who have died. We, along with the Food Standards Agency, 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 organisations, 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.”
Listeria is a nasty bug that can live in colder conditions, once a person is infected they will get a fever, and sickness, it gets serious when older people, young children and people with some conditions are infected.
The bacteria can stay in the system for up to 2 months then it can hit you and will make you very unwell.
You can get listeria from eating meats that have not been cooked properly, or handled with dirty equipment or hands, raw unpasteurized milk is another way of getting the bacteria, also raw sprouts is on the list.
The best way to protect yourself is to cook meats properly, in sandwiches bought from a shop or supermarket there is no way of knowing if listeria is present, it is thought highly unlikely you will get infected as producers of sandwiches are very clean and regularly inspected.