Ipswich Hospital pulls patient sandwiches 'immediately' after listeria warning
PUBLISHED: 12:04 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:04 18 June 2019
Sandwiches and salads were removed from menus at Ipswich Hospital in the wake of a listeria outbreak whcih has led to five deaths.
Ipswich Hospital has been named as one of the hospitals carrying sandwiches and salads linked to eight cases of listeria and the deaths of five people
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), who run hospitals in Ipswch and Colchester, say they took "immediate, swift action" aftet Public Health England (PHE) warned them cases of listeria across England were linked to a food supplier they used.
Sandwiches from the Good Food Chain designated for patients meals were binned and other food was provided.
A spokesman for the trust said: "We were one of the hospitals that had been supplied with sandwiches by this company and the moment we had confirmation from PHE of the outbreak all of the sandwiches were removed.
"Alternative arrangements were made to feed our patients with an alternative supplier.
"We are not aware of any incidents of listeria at Ipswich Hospital as a result of these sandwiches at this time."
The spokesman confirmed Colchester Hospital purchase no food from the Good Food Chain and remained unaffected.
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PHE said investigations into the outbreak are ongoing and are being conducted in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Listeria infection is rare and usually causes a mild illness in healthy people.
However, it can have more serious consequences among those with pre-existing medical conditions, pregnant women and those with a weak immune system.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who recently pulled out of the Conservative leadership campaign, said he was "incredibly concerned" after it emerged the patients were suspected of dying after eating The Good Food Chain's food.
The Good Food Chain, which supplied 43 NHS trusts across the UK, voluntarily ceased production.
In a statement they said: "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the families of those who have died and anyone else who has been affected by this outbreak.
"The underlying cause of it remains unclear.
"We understand that the investigations being carried out are complicated and will involve a number of stakeholders, but we hope the authorities will pursue their inquiries with all urgency so the wider industry can learn any lessons as soon as possible, and so those affected do not have to wait too long for answers."
The business was supplied with meat produced by North Country Cooked Meats, which has since tested positive for the outbreak strain of listeria and also stopped production.
North Country Cooked Meats said previously: "At this stage, the company is currently co-operating fully with the environmental health and the FSA in their investigations, and a further statement will be issued in due course."