The Good Food Chain voluntarily ceased production and recalled all sandwiches and salads linked to the cases during the FSA’s investigations.
In a statement on the manufacturer’s website, Good Food Chain said: “We welcome the Food Standards Agency’s announcement that the Good Food Chain is no longer part of the ongoing investigation into the recent listeria outbreak.
“The FSA has confirmed that we are not the source of the listeria strain in question, and that we follow best practice for manufacturing, cleaning, and environmental standards. While this means we can now resume production, we have not yet taken any decision about whether it is viable to do so. Production therefore remains suspended for the time being.”
Enhanced food safety measures
An enhanced set of food safety measures has been put in place by Stafford Borough Council, which will continue to carry out strict monitoring and oversight of the company for the next three months.
Cabinet member for environment at Stafford Borough Council Jonathan Price, added: “We will continue collecting environmental swabs from surfaces at the business, taking samples of food, and working with The Good Food Chain to ensure they have control measures in place to thoroughly assess those supplying products to them.”
The FSA’s investigation is now focused on identifying the source of the listeria infections and is examining the supply chain of North Country Cooked Meats – the supplier of the meat used by The Good Food Chain – looking at historical detections of listeria, including those within permitted legal limits.
Storage and handling protocols
Following a product withdrawal, Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland have written to their respective NHS Trusts and boards to ensure that they are following appropriate food storage and handling protocols and to provide clinical guidance.
The cases linked to the incident all involve patients who were already seriously ill in hospitals in England. Currently, there are no cases in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Müller UK shut down production of two Cadbury dessert lines as a precautionary measure, due to the possible presence of listeria in the products.