Following investigations by Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency regarding listeria linked to hospital sandwiches, The Good Food Chain has released a statement.
ITV News today reported that six seriously ill hospital patients in England had contracted listeria and three of these patients have passed away. Two of the patients died at Manchester Royal Infirmary. The third death happened at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
The company has confirmed that its production facility in Stone, Staffordshire was cross contaminated by an ingredient from one of its approved meat suppliers, North Country Cooked Meats, which subsequently produced a positive test result for the outbreak strain of listeria.
North Country Cooked Meats and North Country Quality Foods, that they distribute through, have also voluntarily ceased production.
The Good Food Chain stated, 'Working with its Environmental Health Officer, The Good Food Chain has taken the difficult decision to voluntarily close its production facility to enable it to eradicate the issue and ensure it can continue to supply a safe product to customers and consumers. The business continues to work closely with Stafford Borough Council Environmental Health Officers to bring the incident to a swift and satisfactory solution.
'The Good Food Chain has operated in the food industry for almost a quarter of a century and has an excellent reputation for food safety and quality. Its Stone facility is regularly audited and recently renewed its BRC Grade A accreditation and a five-star rating from the local Environmental Health Officer as well as holding STS accreditation. On an ongoing basis, The Good Food Chain regularly laboratory tests its supplies, finished products and environment in line with industry guidelines and best practice.
'Food safety and integrity underpin the business, and the ability to give peace of mind to its customers is paramount.
'The business would like to pass on its thoughts to the families of those who have been affected by this outbreak. It would also like to thank all customers, suppliers and staff for their ongoing support at this difficult time.'