Five dead in listeria outbreaks in the Netherlands and Germany

Five dead in listeria outbreaks in the Netherlands and Germany
© Belga

Three people have died in the Netherlands after contracting listeria infections.

The bacteria were found in pork meat eaten by the victims. One woman said she had a miscarriage for the same reason, the Royal Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu - RIVM) stated on Friday.

In Germany, two people lost their lives under similar circumstances earlier this week.

In the last two years, 20 people have become similarly infected after eating cooked pork meats in the Netherlands.

The RIVM is assuming the products in question came from the Offerman production plant in Aalsmeer, North Holland province. On Thursday evening it was announced that there would be a global recall of pork-meat products in the Netherlands because of the risk of listeria infection, the public broadcasting network NOS reported.

It was already known there was most likely a problem with the Offerman company, which supplies meat-based products. According to a spokesperson for the Dutch food safety authority (Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit), extra inspections have in fact been made over the last few months. "We already had the impression things were not going too well over there."

The food regulator then asked the firm to take further measures. This was done but was not enough to redress the situation.

Offerman recalled all pre-packaged pork-meat products that were sliced and packed in its Aalsmeer factory. They were notably sold in Aldi, Bidfood, Jumbo, Sligro and Versunie shops in the Netherlands.

Germany has also been affected by a food scandal of the same kind this week. Two died in the State of Hesse after eating pork-meat products contaminated with listeria. The health authorities brought a temporary halt to the activities of the company (Wilke) supplying the products under investigation.

Apart from these two deaths of elderly persons, dozens of people have been made ill after eating contaminated salami and a meat spread. All of the company's products were recalled, with the exception of canned foods. The company in question supplies restaurants, commercial kitchens and supermarkets.

The cause of the outbreaks is not yet clear. According to German media sources, the company has been under surveillance by the food chain authorities since March following the appearance of a string of contaminated products.

The Brussels Times

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