Published Date: 2007-07-21 16:00:06
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> E. coli O157, prepackaged food - UK (England)
Archive Number: 20070721.2348
E. COLI O157, PREPACKAGED FOOD - UNITED KINGDOM (ENGLAND)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 18 Jul 2007
Source: Milton Keynes Citizen (UK) [edited]
A Milton Keynes food company is at the center of an investigation
into a major countrywide outbreak of the bacterium _E. coli_ O157.
There have been 11 cases of _E. coli_ 0157 infection so far reported
to health authorities in the UK since the outbreak [began] 10 days
ago. They are thought to be caused by a chicken wrap produced by
Buckingham Foods based in Redmoor, Milton Keynes. Buckingham Foods is
one of the top 5 pre-packed sandwich manufacturers in the UK,
employing about 1000 people at 2 sites in Milton Keynes and Tamworth,
supplying sandwiches, wraps, paninis, and snack salads to major
retailers and airlines.
Nigel Hunter, managing director of Buckingham Foods, admitted that a
product had been withdrawn from the market after people fell ill. He
said: "I can confirm that it is likely that a small number of packs
of a product we made over 3 weeks ago was the cause of a small
outbreak of food poisoning in which a number of people were taken
ill, but none seriously."
He continued, "As a precaution, that product has not been
manufactured since. Exhaustive testing of other products,
ingredients, and staff has confirmed that there was no
cross-contamination at all and no other product has been affected. I
am therefore absolutely confident of the integrity and safety of
everything we are making."
A spokesman for the Food Standards Agency (government food watchdog)
said: "All necessary action was taken to protect consumers. There is
no evidence of a continuing threat to public safety and there have
been no new cases."
In a severe recorded _E. coli_ outbreak, 20 people died in Scotland
after attending a church lunch in Wishaw, Strathclyde, in 1996 [the
cause of that outbreak was cooked meat -- see last ProMED ref. below.
[Byline: Matthew Knowles]
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Brent Barrett
[Neither the exact ingredient of the implicated wrap responsible for
the outbreak, nor what information is available to link this
infection to this particular food, is stated. If some of the
contaminated food was sold to airlines, cases could be found in other
places in the UK as well as internationally. There is no information,
as well, to support the absence of a continuing threat.
The town of Milton Keynes is in Buckinghamshire in Southeast England,
about 45 miles (75 km) northwest of London. Its location can be seen
on the map at
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Keynes>. - Mod.LL
For a mouth-watering picture of a chicken wrap, go to: