Hospital Caterers Association response to listeria breakout

Hospital Caterers Association statement on listeria outbreak – updated 8th June 2019

The Hospital Caterers Association (www.hospitalcaterers.org) is deeply saddened by the recent news of a listeria outbreak in a few NHS hospitals. The safety and wellbeing of our patients is our absolute priority and our sympathies are with the families of those patients who have been affected.

On Friday 7th June 2019, Public Health England (PHE), confirmed North Country Cooked Meats had produced a positive test result for the outbreak strain of listeria. As a result, North Country Cooked Meats, North Country Quality Foods who they distribute through, and The Good Food Chain, who made the sandwiches supplied to those patients, have all voluntarily ceased production.

We understand other suppliers who have purchased products from North Country Cooked Meats have also been affected and recalls are underway.

We are reaching out to our membership, caterers and suppliers alike, to provide the support they may need, and we are working with all relevant authorities and agencies such as PHE and the Food Standards Agency.

We urgently request hospital caterers to identify all products in their menus which contain ingredients from North Country Cooked Meats and North Country Quality Foods so they can be isolated, removed and further investigations can be undertaken.

We would like to reinforce the critical importance of temperature control and call for all caterers to review their audit processes with immediate effect.  

We demand the highest standards from our supplier members and expect them, without exception, to temporarily suspend delivery of products until they have been fully re-evaluated and identified as ‘not at risk’ from the positive test for listeria at North Country Cooked Meats. We expect suppliers to keep our caterers informed and support our caterer members in isolating and removing from the supply chain any potential at-risk product.

Our patients are our number one priority and this is an unnecessary tragedy. Our patients are some of the most vulnerable people in society and we must all go the extra mile to protect them. Failure in food safety systems are unacceptable and immediate action must be taken. It is a patient’s choice to have a sandwich for their meal, and it is all of our responsibility to ensure it is a safe choice.

We continue to monitor this developing situation and will update membership as new information is available.

Craig Smith, HCA Chairman

More information: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/listeria-cases-being-investigated

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