Investigations show that an outbreak of salmonella seen in England and Wales has links to the consumption of cooked ham bought from small independent butchers’ shops.
The results of tests carried out by environmental health officers on the product did not show the presence of salmonella although it did reveal other hygiene issues. As a result of this the supplier has withdrawn certain batches of ham.
There have been 21 confirmed cases in Wales where the outbreak was first detected, and a further 42 confirmed cases in England (36 last reported). Twelve people have been hospitalised (5 in Wales and 7 in England – up from 4). Other potential cases are being investigated.
Experts from Public Health England (PHE) are working with Public Health Wales (PHW), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and environmental health officers from several local authorities to trace the origins of the contaminated food.
Dr Bob Adak, head of the gastrointestinal diseases department at PHE said:
Although the source of the outbreak has not been confirmed some of the cases have been linked to the consumption of cooked ham sold by a small number of independent butchers.
Investigating outbreaks of foodborne illness is a complex process as people have to try and remember what they ate some weeks prior to becoming unwell. In this instance many reported eating cooked meats. The FSA is following all possible leads along with Environmental Health to try and establish the source of the outbreak. This process is ongoing
Salmonella food poisoning is usually caused by eating contaminated raw or undercooked food like meat, eggs, and dairy products. Symptoms can include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever.
Notes to editors
The cases in Wales were first detected in the middle of July in Conwy and Gwynedd.
How can you avoid getting infected with salmonella?
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water:
before preparing and eating food
after handling raw food
after going to the toilet or changing a baby’s nappy
after contact with pets and other animals, especially reptiles and amphibians
after working in the garden
Keep cooked food away from raw food
Store raw foods below cooked or ready-to-eat foods in the fridge to prevent contamination
Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating
Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, so that it is piping hot
Keep all kitchen surfaces and equipment including knives, chopping boards and dish cloths clean
Do not drink untreated water from lakes, rivers or streams
Do not keep reptiles or amphibians in households where there is a child under 5 years of age, or someone with a weakened immune system
If someone has salmonella, wash all dirty clothes, bedding and towels in the washing machine on the hottest cycle possible. Clean toilet seats, toilet bowls, flush handles, taps and wash hand basins after use with detergent and hot water, followed by a household disinfectant.
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