FSA continues to look into Listeria outbreak

The Food Standards Agency (FCA) is continuing its investigation into the listeria outbreak, which killed five people.

The evidence suggests that all individuals ate the affected products in hospitals before the withdrawal took place on 25 May.

The same strain of listeria was identified in meat produced by North Country Cooked Meats used by The Good Food Chain; its 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 and the company remains closed.

The investigation is now focused on identifying the source of the outbreak. It is examining the supply chain of North Country Cooked Meats and looking at historical detections of listeria, including those within permitted legal limits.

The Good Food Chain is no longer part of the ongoing investigation into the source of the outbreak, but the caterer will have to reapply for accreditation to supply to the NHS.

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.

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