3:20 PM Friday March 07, 2008
Auckland Regional Public Health Service and Counties Manukau DHB media release
7th March, 2008
LISTERIA CONTAMINATED CHICKEN SANDWICHES PROVIDED TO MIDDLEMORE HOSPITAL
Spotless Services, food contractors to Counties Manukau District Health Board, informed the DHB today that ‘Listeria Monocyotogenes’ had been found in packaged sandwiches that had been sold from CMDHB Aviary Café this week in Middlemore hospital. The affected product was Thai Chicken sandwiches which were sold on Monday, 3rd March. At this stage, it is unknown whether other sandwich varieties were affected.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) are currently investigating the source of the contamination.
A spokesperson for ARPHS, Dr Greg Simmons said that we are seeing greater diligence of testing of ready to eat products due to recent publicity around the listeria issue.
“We expect to see more instances of listeria contamination reported to us as a result of a more diligent testing environment. We appreciate the efforts taken by food businesses who have taken the initiative to test and report. We would like to remind members of the public that there is a low risk of illness if contaminated, but we are taking this seriously and taking a precautionary approach,” says Dr Simmons.
Although the product was not distributed to other outlets the company (Natiurezone) halted all production, and undertaken a trade withdrawal. Production will cease until such time as the source of contamination can be identified and an assurance of the safety of its ready-to-eat products can be provided.
Dr Greg Simmons says, “We are treating the matter very seriously and hope to have more information to hand as soon as possible. We are conducting a site inspection at the company concerned and will ensure extensive product and environmental testing.“
ARPHS is continuing to work closely with the concerned agencies, the company and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority.
Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) Chief Medical Officer, Dr Don Mackie reiterates that the risk is small.
“We understand that the number of people potentially exposed is relatively small. Only 20 sandwiches were supplied and sold through the café.. To date we have had no notification of any staff, patients or visitors diagnosed with listeria infection,” says Dr Mackie.
Listeria is a bacterium which is generally of concern to pregnant women, the very young, the elderly and people with a compromised immune system.
Symptoms can include a fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and aches and pains in joints and muscles and can lead to meningitis and blood poisoning.
“Should anyone who ate Sandwiches from Middlemore Hospital’s Aviary Café on March 3rd, become concerned about symptoms in the next few weeks, we suggest they contact their general practitioner highlighting the possibility of listeria infection,” Dr Simmons says.
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For more information, contact
Dr Greg Simmons
Medical Officer of Health
Ph: 623 4600 x 27153
Mob: 021 884657
Communications Manager- ADHB
Phone: 021 804 122