WHSmith recalls wrap over possible E.coli outbreak

The chain is the latest to be impacted by potential contamination amid a surge in infections.

WHSmith latest retailer to recall sandwich over possible Ecoli outbreak after Asda, Tesco and Aldi iStock

WHSmith has become the latest retailer to issue a recall over a possible E. coli contamination.

Sandwich maker This! said it was taking a precautionary step to remove its chicken and bacon wrap due to concerns about an outbreak.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) said there was a possible presence of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in the item, which is only sold at WHSmith.

But it added that no E. coli had been detected in the product.

The FSA said symptoms caused by STEC include severe diarrhoea (including bloody diarrhoea), abdominal pain, and sometimes haemolytic uremic syndrome, (HUS), a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure and can be fatal.

Anyone who may have bought the wrap is urged not to eat it and instead return it to the store for a full refund.

It comes just days after manufacturers Greencore Group and Samworth Brothers Manton Wood recalled a variety of sandwiches, wraps and salads sold in major UK supermarkets because of a potential link to an E. coli outbreak that left people across the UK in hospital.

The products being recalled by Greencore include sandwiches, wraps and salads sold at Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Morrisons, Co-op, and retail pharmacy chain Boots.

Samworth Brothers Manton Wood is recalling various Tesco and One Stop sandwiches and wraps.

Darren Whitby, head of incidents at the Food Standards Agency, said: “Sandwich manufacturers are taking a precautionary measure to recall various sandwiches wraps and salads in response to findings from investigations by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), who are working to identify the cause of an ongoing outbreak caused by shiga toxin-producing E. coli (Stec).”

Greencore Group said in a statement: “As a precautionary measure, we have voluntarily recalled a number of sandwiches and wraps due to a potential food safety risk.

“Greencore adheres to the highest standards of food safety, and we are working closely with the Food Standards Agency and our suppliers to better understand the possible source of any potential issue.”

A Samworth Brothers Manton Wood spokesperson said: “The Food Standards Agency has advised the supplier of a salad ingredient which we use in a small number of products that it should undertake a product withdrawal and recall.

“Meanwhile, food chain investigations are being carried out, which have not yet reached any conclusions.

“A small number of sandwich and wrap lines that are made at our Manton Wood site are being recalled as a precautionary measure to ensure a high level of health protection for consumers. No other Manton Wood products are affected.”

Thousands of sandwiches were recalled last week due to a possible E. coli outbreak.Getty Images

E. coli are a diverse group of bacteria that are normally harmless and live in the intestines of humans and animals.

However some strains, like Stec, can make people very ill.

As of June 11, the number of cases associated with the Stec outbreak is 211, an increase of 98 since a previous update from UKHSA on June 6.

Based on information from 160 cases to date, 42% were admitted to hospital.

Trish Mannes, incident director at UKHSA, said: “We would like to thank all the cases who have provided information that has enabled us, through epidemiological analysis of questionnaire data and food-tracing investigations, to narrow down the likely food product linked to this outbreak.”

Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy at Which? said the outbreak shows how “we can never afford to be complacent with our food safety and food standards”.

“With so many people so severely affected, it’s right that products are being withdrawn on a precautionary basis. Supermarkets and the FSA must do everything they can to make people aware of potentially affected products and ensure that they do not eat them.

“The FSA and UK Health Security Agency must get to the bottom of how this widespread outbreak has happened and take all action necessary to prevent any more people from becoming ill.”

Earlier this month, the agency confirmed at least 37 people had been admitted to hospital following the E. coli outbreak, which it believed to be linked to food.

Whole genome sequencing of samples showed the majority of the 113 cases reported across the UK between May 25 and June 4 were part of a single outbreak.

At the time, the agency said it believed the outbreak, which mostly affected young adults, was linked to a nationally distributed food item or multiple food items.

Some 147 cases were confirmed in England, with 27 in Wales, 35 in Scotland and two in Northern Ireland who believe they fell ill in England.

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