CIEH Welcomes Review of Hospital Food Following Listeria Outbreak

20 June 2019, Ross Matthewman

Responding to the Listeria outbreak at UK hospitals, CIEH has welcomed the Health Secretary’s decision to call for a full review of hospital food.

The recent listeria outbreak in the UK was traced to hospitals serviced by food vendor “The Good Food Chain”. Nine people contracted listeriosis across 43 hospitals, and five people have died.

Listeriosis is a rare but serious foodborne illness caused by bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Those with weakened immune systems, infants, the elderly and pregnant women are most at risk.

Kate Thompson, Wales Director at CIEH, said:

“This outbreak is very serious.

We were deeply saddened to hear that the number of cases has increased to nine including five deaths. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those who have been affected.

We completely support the Health Secretary’s decision to call for a root and branch review of hospital food, and acknowledge the ongoing work of Environmental Health Professionals across the country to ensure the removal of affected products from the market.

We are very concerned that this outbreak has occurred in a landscape of continuing reductions to funds allocated by local authorities to food controls, with spending on food hygiene falling an estimated 19% between 2012-13 and 2017 18 and staff numbers declining by an estimated 13%.

Just last week, a report from the National Audit Office openly recognised that our food regulation system is coming under increasing pressure.

Urgent action should be taken to halt this decline in local authority Environmental Health capacity to ensure consumers are protected from the risks of unsafe food now and in the future.” 

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