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A complex investigation by multiple agencies has identified meat as the source of a deadly Listeria outbreak. Pre-packed sandwiches containing the contaminated chicken were eaten by hospital patients, resulting in three deaths. All the sandwiches were supplied by an outside contractor.
Public Health England moved to prevent further cases and identified a meat supplier to the contractor as the most likely source. Both businesses voluntarily ceased production as soon as they were made aware of the findings. The Food Standards Agency says low level contamination at factories and reduced control over refrigeration in hospitals was the most likely cause.
CleanClad, the hygienic wall cladding expert, says livestock can carry listeria bacterium without without showing any signs. A spokesman said: “Because animals look healthy, you wouldn’t know they are carrying the bacteria. However, it can and does contaminate meats as well as dairy products. This is something all public services and outlets supplying food should be aware of.
“Stringent hygiene processes should be observed with particular caution around storage temperatures. Guidance surrounding danger zones and how to avoid them should always be followed - from farm to fork. Pre-packed sandwiches should only ever be stored in the correct conditions. It is tragic that three people have lost their lives as a result of doing something as ordinary as eating a chicken sandwich.”
Good hygiene procedures should be in place in any environment where food is prepared, stored or served. Food preparation areas, including abattoirs and processing sites, should ensure surfaces are smooth and easy to thoroughly clean. CleanClad is used in all of these settings and more because it aids the cleaning process and helps businesses meet compliance standards. There is no suggestions any of the businesses involved in this outbreak were not meeting hygiene regulations.
Unlike paint, tiles and expensive stainless steel, it is low maintenance and highly durable. It also resists moisture and promotes productivity. Listeria infection is relatively rare. Official statistics show that in 2017, there were 135 reported cases of listeriosis in England and Wales - 17.7% less than the previous six-year period. Most of the victims were over the age of 60, particularly men aged 70 and over.
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