An investigation is underway into an outbreak of listeria which has been traced back to pre-packed sandwiches served in NHS hospitals. As of Friday, 7 June, the outbreak had already claimed three lives, and three more patients were in a serious condition.
In a statement, Public Health England (PHE) said sandwiches and salads linked to the cases have been withdrawn and the supplier, The Good Food Chain, has voluntarily ceased production while the investigation continues.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 deaths occurred in hospitals run by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Currently, there are no cases in Scotland or in Wales and PHE says the health risk to the public is low. To date, there have been no associated cases identified outside healthcare organisations.
Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director of the PHE National Infection Service 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."