Supermarket sandwich supplier issues recall amid UK E coli outbreak

The sandwich maker Greencore, which supplies big supermarkets including Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, is one of a number of companies recalling products after being potentially linked to an outbreak of E coli that has caused cases in the UK to almost double to more than 200.

The company is recalling thousands of sandwiches, wraps and salads sold through those three supermarkets as well as Boots, Aldi, Amazon and the Co-op. The 45 products contain a certain variety of salad leaf linked to the outbreak identified this month by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Another company, Samworth Brothers, which supplies Tesco and its One Stop convenience store chain from its Manton Wood business, is recalling 15 kinds of sandwiches, wraps and subs for the same reason.

A further manufacturer expected to issue a recall has yet to be identified as investigations are continuing into exactly which products may have been affected.

News of the recall came as the UKHSA revealed on Friday that a further 98 cases had been linked to the outbreak, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 211, including 147 in England, 27 in Wales, 35 in Scotland and two in Northern Ireland.

The agency said at least 67 people had been admitted to hospital. It expected the number affected by the outbreak to rise further as it carried out more research using genome sequencing to check which E coli cases were linked.

Sources said the items being recalled were not believed to contain E coli, as the affected batch of salad leaves had now been used up, but customers and retailers were being asked to return the items as a precaution.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said sandwich manufacturers were taking “a precautionary measure” to recall various sandwiches, wraps and salads in response to findings from investigations into the “ongoing outbreak” of shiga toxin-producing E coli (Stec).

Darren Whitby, the FSA’s head of incidents, said: “This is a complex investigation, and we have worked swiftly with the relevant businesses and the local authorities concerned to narrow down the wide range of foods consumed to a small number of salad leaf products that have been used in sandwiches and wraps. Following thorough food chain analysis, these products are being recalled as a precaution.

“Infections caused by Stec bacteria can cause severe bloody diarrhoea and, in some cases, more serious complications. We therefore advise any consumers who have any of these products not to eat them.”

Andrew Opie, the director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Food safety is the highest priority for our members and those who sell or prepare food are well versed in food safety measures.

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“Retailers affected are taking swift action to remove these products from sale and are working closely with the Food Standards Agency to take any further action needed to minimise risk to their customers.”

The Greencore recall covers 45 different products, including Asda’s chicken and bacon club sandwich, Boots’s BLT, Asda’s tuna crunch sub roll and Sainsbury’s peri peri chicken wrap. The Samworth Brothers recall covers 15 items including a Tesco chicken salad sandwich and a One Stop tuna crunch sub.

Earlier this month, the UKHSA said 113 recent UK cases of E coli since 25 May were thought to be part of a single outbreak, which was likely to be linked to a “nationally distributed food item or multiple food items” owing to the wide geographic spread of cases.

Supermarkets were issuing notices asking shoppers who had bought any of the affected products not to eat them but to return them to a store where they would be given a full refund.

Greencore said in a statement: “As a precautionary measure, we have voluntarily recalled a number of sandwiches and wraps due to a potential food safety risk.

“Greencore adheres to the highest standards of food safety, and we are working closely with the Food Standards Agency and our suppliers to better understand the possible source of any potential issue.”


Updated: Juni 14, 2024 — 2:43 pm

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