Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Inquiry into food poisoning cases



Source of Article:  http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/0805/1217628552404.html


EIGHT CASES of salmonella food poisoning are being investigated by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), following an outbreak in late June and early July.

The authority has warned food outlets providing ready-to-eat sandwiches to be "particularly strict in adhering to best hygiene practices", in the wake of the onset of these cases.

All eight incidents involve the same type of salmonella - agona - and a similar outbreak has occurred in the UK.

This is the first outbreak of salmonella in Ireland since 2005, when three people were affected by the same salmonella agona bacterium, which are linked to poultry products.

It is thought the outbreak involves meat and poultry products, the cause of most salmonella-linked cases, but the FSAI said yesterday its investigation "seeks to establish the source of the illness, and laboratory testing of foods is being carried out which should provide further information shortly".

A company that supplies implicated ingredients to the catering sector has withdrawn these products from sale as a precaution, the FSAI said.

It is working with British agencies in its investigation as well as the Departments of Health and Agriculture and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

The authority is continuing to investigate all other potential sources of contamination. An FSAI spokeswoman said the cases were spread over a number of locations.

Warning food outlets about hygiene practices, the FSAI said it was important to ensure that hot sandwiches must be thoroughly cooked before being served to the consumer.

Strict procedures should be followed at all times to avoid cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods, it added.

Salmonella bacteria are found in the intestines of humans and animals but can also be found in raw meat, eggs, poultry and unpasteurised milk.

Further information is available at the authority's website on www.fsai.ie.


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