Nearly 200 people across the United Kingdom are part of a Salmonella outbreak linked to pork scratching products.
There have been 179 reported cases of Salmonella Infantis since September 2020, according to the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland.
Public Health England said 56 percent of cases are male, and ages range from 0 to 91 years old with a median of 53. Almost two thirds of those sick have been reported since June 2021.
No deaths are linked to the outbreak but a third of the confirmed cases who completed case interviews have been hospitalized with Salmonella infections.
There are 154 sick people from all nine regions of England, 14 patients in Wales, 10 in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland.
Tayto Group Limited has recalled some Mr. Porky, Jay’s and The Real Pork Crackling Co. products because they might be contaminated with Salmonella. Items have best before dates up to and including Feb. 19, 2022. A full list of affected products and pack sizes can be found here.
All products manufactured since February at one factory linked to the outbreak have been recalled and withdrawn from sale. Production was voluntary halted at this plant once a possible link was identified earlier this month.
Tayto Group is a British-owned crisp and snack manufacturer, producing over 5.5 million packs a day across seven UK sites.
FSA and PHE reaction
Tina Potter, head of incidents at the Food Standards Agency, said the authority was advising consumers not to eat any of the affected products and to return them to the place of purchase for a refund.
“The food business involved has voluntarily suspended its production to put additional controls in place to improve the safety of their products and they have decided on a voluntary basis to withdraw and recall all of the products within shelf-life produced at this site,” she said.
Dr. Lesley Larkin, surveillance lead for gastrointestinal pathogens unit at Public Health England, said a link was established between patients based on analysis of data from whole genome sequencing and epidemiological investigations.
“Together with Public Health Scotland, Public Health Wales and Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, we have been investigating an outbreak of over 170 cases of Salmonella Infantis that have occurred across the UK,” she said.
“These investigations, together with those carried out by local authorities, have indicated the source of infection is pork scratchings produced by a single company in the UK. The Food Standards Agency has acted on these findings to mitigate any further risk to public health from the contaminated food.”
The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) in Hong Kong urged the public not to consume two kinds of snack from the brand Mr. Porky imported from the UK by Jenzet Limited as they might be contaminated with Salmonella.
A CFS spokesman said: “The CFS received a notification from the British authorities through the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) that the products may be contaminated by Salmonella. The Food Standards Agency and the Public Health England are conducting an investigation and the concerned products are being recalled.”
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.
Anyone who has eaten any recalled products and developed symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.
Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions. Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)