Salmonella outbreak linked to meat and poultry

Food standards agencies investigating an outbreak of salmonella in the UK and Ireland have warned food retailers and consumers to be vigilant on food safety.

Around 80 cases of Salmonella Agona have been confirmed in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland so far, predominantly in young adults. The disease is reported to have been a contributing factor in the death of an elderly woman last month.

It is thought that investigations are centred on meat and poultry products, although food watchdogs say the exact source of the outbreak is not yet known. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is carrying out laboratory testing on potential sources of contamination.

A spokesperson said: "The FSAI is advising food outlets providing ready-to-eat sandwiches to be particularly strict in adhering to best hygiene practices. It reminds retailers of the importance of ensuring that hot sandwiches must be thoroughly cooked before serving to the consumer.

"It also reiterates the need for strict procedures to be followed at all times to avoid cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods."

The Agency has confirmed that Irish company, Dawn Farm Foods, has withdrawn some products from its food supply chain as a precautionary measure.

The UK Food Standards Agency has identified cooking, cleaning, chilling and preventing cross-contamination as the four areas consumers and food businesses should consider to keep food safe. The Agency has said it is working hard to identify the source of the outbreak and will publish any relevant information immediately.