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Food safety lawyers call for urgent inquiry into contaminated chicken from Poland

Food safety lawyers have called for an urgent inquiry following reports that over the past year as many as five people may have died and hundreds injured after eating contaminated chicken from Poland.

Posted on 22 February 2021

The chicken meat was sold by major supermarkets across the UK over the past year including SFC products from both Sainsbury's and Morrisons, while Vestey nuggets have been available at Heron Foods stores, B&M, and B&M Express.
 
Recalls involving similar products sold by Lidl, Aldi and Iceland, were reported last October.
 
According to the Daily Mail 480 people have become ill with salmonella poisoning, with around a third becoming so ill they needed hospital treatment, with nearly half the victims aged 16 or under.
 
Michelle Victor a specialist food safety lawyer at law firm Leigh Day has now called on the Government to do more to find out what more can be done to prevent further outbreaks:
 
“Many of these products appear to be at the lower end of the scale in terms of quality and price of product. Whilst manufacturers aim to supply cheaper meals, they cannot risk lives by putting profit before safety.
 
“Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency must now act decisively to ensure none of the products are still in circulation and a full inquiry should take place into how a breach of such severity took place and whether it could have been avoided.
 
“There have been many warnings about salmonella in chilled and frozen poultry from Poland across Europe and the true scale of this outbreak is not yet known.”
 
Public Health England (PHE) said cases of sickness caused by salmonella linked to frozen breaded chicken products continue to be reported.
 
Head of the Gastrointestinal Pathogens Unit of PHE's National Infection Service, Saheer Gharbia, told the Daily Mail: 'Salmonella generally causes a mild illness, although vulnerable groups like children under five years, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems may experience more severe illness and may require hospitalisation.
 
'Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and sometimes vomiting and fever. Anyone who is concerned about symptoms should contact their GP or out of hours service in the first instance.'
 
Chief operating officer of the FSA, Colin Sullivan, said: 'Our advice is to always take care when storing, handling and cooking these types of frozen breaded chicken products to help reduce the risk of food poisoning to you and your family.
 
'You should always check the cooking instructions on food packaging, as different brands of the same product might have different instructions. Cooking food at the right temperature and for the correct length of time will ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed.'
 
SFC, based in Merseyside, apologised and said it would like to 'assure customers of our continuing commitment to the highest standard of quality and safety'.
 
Vestey, which is based in Croydon, confirmed salmonella has been found in the Chick Inn nuggets.

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Michelle Victor
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Michelle Victor

Michelle is a leading consumer rights lawyer and head of the food safety team in London

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