Category Archives: food death

Information – Two varieties of E. coli behind multiple U.S. outbreak infections – O103 and O121

Food Safety News

This is a link to a  list of outbreaks in recent years that were caused by E. coli O103 and E. coli O121.

UK – Update on investigation into food supply chain linked to Listeria


Update on investigation into food supply chain linked to listeria

Investigation continuing into foods linked to listeria infections in hospitals.
26 June 2019

The Food Standards Agency is leading the investigation into the food supply chain to identify the source of the listeria strain linked to the recent hospital cases with the support of Food Standards Scotland and local authorities. Products directly linked to the cases were identified and these were withdrawn from the food chain on the same day as the link was established. This strain was traced back to a producer which withdrew all their ready-to-eat foods on a precautionary basis. Investigations are continuing to try and determine the point of origin of the listeria strain.

  • All confirmed cases to date have been linked to sandwiches produced by The Good Food Chain. The Good Food Chain voluntarily ceased production on 5 June and withdrew all products which remained in date.  Evidence suggests that all individuals ate the affected products in hospitals before the withdrawal took place on the 25 May. No cases of listeriosis linked to this outbreak have been confirmed in people outside of hospital settings and therefore the risk to the public remains low.
  • The same strain of listeria was identified in meat produced by North Country Cooked Meats used by The Good Food Chain. North Country Cooked Meats, and their distributor North Country Quality Foods, voluntarily stopped distributing on 3 June and a withdrawal of all ready to eat products has been carried out on a precautionary basis. The products supplied by North Country Quality Foods to other businesses have not led to any reported cases to date. Both North Country Cooked Meats and North Country Quality Foods remain closed.
  • The investigation is now focused on identifying the source of the listeria infections. It is examining the supply chain of North Country Cooked Meats and looking at historical detections of listeria, including those within permitted legal limits. Further testing of products and environments for listeria is also being conducted to identify whether a match to the outbreak strain can be found.

Following extensive testing and verification by Stafford Borough Council, The Good Food Chain is no longer part of the ongoing investigation into the source of the outbreak.  With the investigation now focusing on suppliers further up the food supply chain, The Good Food Chain can restart production.

However, to ensure public health continues to be protected, an enhanced set of food safety measures are now in place and the local authority will continue to carry out strict monitoring and oversight of the company for the next three months, with further supervision to be determined by inspection findings. The business will have to reapply for accreditation before it can directly supply the NHS again.

These measures include:

  • The business has been verified as meeting food safety legislation and as following best practice for manufacturing, cleaning and environmental standards.
  • The site has undergone a comprehensive deep-cleaning process. Extensive environmental swabbing indicates the site is clear of potential sources of any strain of Listeria monocytogenes, including the outbreak strain.
  • The food safety hazard plan has been reviewed and will continue to be verified to ensure it is fit for purpose once production restarts.
  • Enhanced oversight will be carried out by Stafford Borough Council which includes additional product sampling, environmental testing and enhanced incoming supply verification.


Dr Colin Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer at the FSA said:

“This is a complex investigation, but we have worked to swiftly identify and remove from the food chain the products linked to these hospital cases.

“Our investigations are now focused on where the outbreak strain originated from and subject to strict verification and ongoing monitoring by Stafford Borough Council, The Good Food Chain company is now able to restart production.

“The company will be carefully monitored to ensure public health continues to be protected.

“Our thoughts remain with the families of those who have passed away.”

Councillor Jonathan Price, the Cabinet Member for Environment at Stafford Borough Council, said:

“We have worked tirelessly with the Good Food Chain and are reassured that their manufacturing processes, cleaning procedures and environmental standards meet those we expect for producing ready to eat foods.”

“But our work does not stop there as the health of the public is our top priority.

“So we will continue collecting environmental swabs from surfaces at the business, taking samples of food, and working with The Good Food Chain to ensure they have control measures in place to thoroughly assess those supplying products to them.”

Public Health England (PHE) and Health Protection Scotland (HPS) are testing all recent samples of listeria to check if they are linked to this outbreak.

For more details see PHE update:

UK – Inquests launched into deaths of victims of Listeria Sandwiches

Food Poison Journal

According to British press reports, Enid Heap and Beverley Sowah both died at Manchester Royal Infirmary, likely from eating Listeria tainted sandwiches.

Ms. Heap, from Beswick, died with her family at her bedside on May 6 after she was admitted to the hospital in March when suffering breathing difficulties, Manchester Coroner’s Court heard. Mrs. Sowah, who was born in Jamaica and lived in Manchester, was admitted to the same hospital on April 15 and died on April 26. Coroner Nigel Meadows confirmed before the listeria deaths were uncovered an inquest had already been held into Mrs. Sowah’s death and he had concluded no inquest hearing was needed for Ms. Heap’s death.

In other news, a Derbyshire man, Ian Hitchcock, with liver cancer, who was diagnosed with Listeria at the Royal Derby Hospital, was later transferred to Nottingham City Hospital where he died on June 8. An inquest into Mr. Hitchcock’s death has been opened at Derby Coroner’s Court.

UK – Update on listeria cases being investigated


The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland are continuing to investigate foods linked to listeria infections in hospitals.

There continues to only be cases in England.

All products linked to the cases have been withdrawn and food chain investigations continue.

Listeria is widespread in the environment and can contaminate a range of foods. However, all reported cases of listeria linked to food production are fully investigated to ensure public safety is being protected.

Low levels of listeria are legally permitted in some foods. The risk to the general population is low and infections are rare.

To date, all of the cases linked to this incident have involved people from vulnerable groups in healthcare organisations who were being treated for existing medical conditions.

North Country Quality Foods, which supplies meats produced by North Country Cooked Meats, took action once a link was confirmed to withdraw products that might pose a risk of listeria infection. This withdrawal notification instructed businesses not to use the food or distribute it further. North Country Cooked Meats and North Country Quality Foods both remain closed.

The Good Food Chain, who were supplied with ingredients from North Country Cooked Meats, has withdrawn all products from hospitals and other businesses and has ceased production.

Dr Colin Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer at the FSA said:

‘Our sympathies remain with the families of the 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 the cause of the outbreak to prevent a reoccurrence.’

RASFF Alert – Foodborne Outbreak – Listeria monocytogenes – Sandwiches


RASFF – foodborne outbreak caused by Listeria monocytogenes (190 CFU/g) in pre-packed sandwiches in the United Kingdom in the UK

Norway – Norway officials trying to ID water contamination source – Campylobacter

NF Chronicle


Image CDC

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norwegian authorities said Tuesday they were trying to identify the source of water contamination that has sent dozens of people in southern Norway to the hospital.

Since Thursday, 55 people — including 13 children — from Askoey, an island north of Bergen, have been hospitalized following the contamination. All have been discharged. Norwegian news agency NTB reported that in all, some 2,000 people had fallen sick.

A 1-year-old child on the island died last week of an infection in the digestive tract, but it was not clear whether it was linked to the contamination.

He said tests showed that the bacteria Campylobacter has been found in 36 cases.

UK – Listeria outbreak: Action was taken to protect vulnerable patients, experts insist

The Telegraph

Listeria warnings were not issued to the public until it was confirmed by test results because experts were confident it had been contained and vulnerable patients protected.

Three patients have been killed by hospital sandwiches and 43 NHS trusts placed on alert in one of the worst cases of food poisoning in the health service.

Six people were diagnosed with a serious listeria infection between April 25 and May 15.