The latest cases of a particular strain of salmonella (single nucleotide polymorphism) have been linked to lamb and mutton.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA), Food Standards Scotland, Public Health England (PHE) and Health Protection Scotland said there had been a spike in Salmonella Typhimurium cases in July 2017. Prior to that, only two cases of this strain had been detected in England.
A number of control measures were imposed, which led to a significant decline in cases at the end of 2017. A total of 118 cases had been reported up until May this year.
However, since June, a further 165 cases have been reported (up to 19 October), which has led the FSA and other organisations to put further control measures in place.
“We are advising care when preparing all meat, including lamb and mutton, to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with Salmonella Typhimurium,” said FSA chief operating officer Colin Sullivan. “Our advice is to purchase food as normal, but to take care when storing, handling and cooking raw meat.”
Nick Phin, deputy director, National Infection Service, PHE, said: “The likely cause of the increased numbers of this specific strain of Salmonella Typhimurium is considered to be meat or cross-contamination with meat from affected sheep.
“People can be infected with Salmonella Typhimurium in a number of ways, such as not cooking their meat properly, not washing hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, or through cross-contamination with other food, surfaces and utensils in the kitchen.”
The numbers of cases were at low levels from December 2017 to June 2018 (23 cases during this period).