Irish meat plant linked to Finnish salmonella cases

 

OUTBREAK: EU on high alert as 119 infected

 

August 15, 2008 Friday

Source of Article:  http://www.meatpoultry.com/news/newsfinder.asp?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=604&docId=l:837610825&topicId=14427&start=2&topics=single

 

A SALMONELLA outbreak in Finland is the latest to have a possible link to a meat plant in Co Kildare.

Countries across the EU have been put on high alert after the Nordic country became the third to confirm cases of Salmonella agona.

At least 119 are now believed to have been infected by the bacteria, which may be caused by contaminated meat products made at a Dawn Farm Foods plant in Naas.

The latest details were revealed last night by the European Centre for Disease Control.

Its Eurosurveillance report shows that 110 cases of the infection with a similar strain of salmonella agona have been identified to date.

That figures is almost certain to rise to 119 as another nine cases await final analysis.

A child as young as three months is believed to be among the victims, as is a 79-year-old woman. The investigation found that the average age of those affected was 27.

The outbreak is believed to have claimed the life of a 77-year-old British woman who died from complications associated with salmonella.

The report by public health experts from Ireland, the UK and Sweden confirms 14 people across Europe have been hospitalised due to the outbreak. Four people in the Republic have required hospital treatment.

As a result a number ofmeat products including beef strips, chicken, lamb and pork which were on sale in atleast eight European countries and to Kuwait have nowbeen taken off the market.

Dawn Farm Foods voluntarily withdrew the food products after the genetic fingerprint of salmonella agona was linked to a particular production line at its Naas plant.

Health

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland said: "In the interests of public health, the FSAI is advising that products processed on the same production line as the salmonella-positive products at Dawn Farm Foods (plant no 734) should not be used."

The Eurosurveillance report said that "a confirmed case in Finland has eaten beef strips from a branch of the retailchain implicated in Ireland and the UK".

It is understood that this refers to the Subway sandwich chain, which has assured customers that products from suspect batches are no longerin their outlets.

Dr Darina O'Flanagan, director of the Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said: "This is a serious outbreak with one fatality already. We want to ensure that the controls that are in place are effective and that new cases are investigated as quickly as possible to ensure that no other sources are identified."

The report refers to a decision not to withdraw cooked meat products from the same production line "on the basis that they are intended for further cooking before consumption".

A Dawn Farm Foods spokesperson said: "The company will work with FSAI advice, which is that there is no current need to withdraw this type of product."

 

 

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