Three out of six seriously ill patients died at the Aintree University Hospital and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trusts, following a listeria outbreak.
The Daily Mail online has reported that the outbreak has been linked to The Good Food Chain’s sandwich and salads supplied at the 43 NHS trusts in the UK.
Some of the products were given to the hospital patients, while others were sold on the premises.
The first listeria case showed signs on 25 April 2019. The latest was reported on 15 May 2019.
On 25 May 2019, the pre-packed meals have been withdrawn from the trusts.
The Good Food Chain used meat produced by North Country Cooked Meats. Testing the meat has revealed positive result for a strain of listeria called Listeria Monocytogenes.
The Good Food Chain and North Country Cooked Meats have voluntarily ceased production, along with their distributor North Country Quality Foods.
Fortunately, no cases have been reported from Wales and Scotland.
So, what is listeria? It is a bacteria which causes listeriosis.
Listeriosis is a rare infection. In healthy people it either goes unnoticed or they experience short term, mild symptoms of gastroenteritis, such as diarrhoea and vomiting.
Other symptoms can include aches and pains, chills and high temperature of 38C or above. In those cases, there is no need for treatment.
It can take up to 70 days between exposure to the organism and the development of the listeriosis.
Unfortunately, people with weakened immune systems such as the elderly, babies and pregnant women, can develop serious complications. People with pre-existing health conditions are also at higher risk of serious consequences.
Listeria is most often found in soft cheeses, ready-to-eat foods and unpasteurised milk. It is widespread in the environment and can be found in soil and raw food. It is also present in the droppings of many birds, fish and mammals.
Each year in England there are around 180 cases of listeriosis.
The NHS suggests few ways to avoid listeriosis:
- make sure all hot food is steaming hot all the way through
- wash fruit and vegetables before eating them
- store ready-to-eat foods as recommended by the manufacturer
- wash your hands regularly with soap and water
Both chief operating officer at the Food Standards Agency and deputy director at the national infection service at Public Health England have expressed their sympathies to the friends and family of the deceased.
It has been stated that actions have been taken to reduce the risk to the public’s health and that the overall risk is low. The investigation into the outbreak will continue.
At Phoenix Solicitors we welcome the decisiveness of the supply companies and their voluntary cease of production. In such a serious matter, it is always beneficial that companies agree to cooperate and reduce further possible risk to the public.
We still find the further investigation necessary to find the details of how the outbreak has occurred and why the bacteria were present in the North Country Cooked Meats’ produce. This should help avoid similar incidents in the future.
Consumers should not have to worry about buying less than safe products, whether they are ready meals or ingredients. It is particularly disconcerting that the products were supplied to hospitals, where many people are at higher risk of complications from listeriosis.
Suffering major illness from no fault of your own can have a devastating effect on you and your loved ones. Therefore, we offer our services to help you get through the tough times.
If you have suffered from listeriosis or any other food poisoning, you may be entitled to receive compensation. We offer a free consultation to assess your circumstances and establish if you have a case.
To help you on your way to recovery we offer experienced medical experts and rehabilitation anywhere in the country.
With our ‘no win, no fee’ agreement, you will not have to worry about paying any upfront legal fees and upon success will receive 100% of your compensation.