Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Salmonella Sickens 79 in Denmark

Pork products from a Zealand slaughterhouse is likely source of outbreak

Seventy-nine Danes have been infected with Salmonella Typhimurium U323 since March of this year, in an outbreak that has been linked to contaminated pork products distributed by a single slaughterhouse in Zealand, Denmark.

Most of the outbreak victims are adults – some of them elderly. Patient interviews implicated pork products as a probable source of the infections.

Danish health and food safety authorities followed the Salmonella trail to a slaughterhouse located in Zealand, Denmark. Two recalls ensued:
  • INCO Danmark Amba recalled several varieties of minced meats that had been supplied to caterers, restaurants, institutions, and corporate Gourmet kitchens
  • TR-Thorup Kød Engros ApS recalled several production date codes of Danish pork, minced (8-12% fat) and, as a precaution, also recalled Beef hamburger (8-12% fat) that was produced on the same dates. TR-Thorup supplied its meats to a number of Zealand restaurants and cafés.

Danish authorities suspect that the Salmonella contamination originated with an infected herd of swine that supplies the Zealand slaughterhouse. The health status of all herds that supply this slaughterhouse, therefore, is being closely scrutinized. The slaughterhouse has been inspected, and its management has made necessary corrections to cleaning procedures, sanitation, and processes. The company has implemented additional testing, and is operating under intensified surveillance by the Danish Food Safety Authority.

Health authorities expect that these actions will bring a halt to the current Salmonella outbreak, although there may be some additional cases reported. Consumers and food service operators are reminded:
  • to cook meats thoroughly,
  • to keep raw and cooked meats segregated from each other,
  • to ensure that utensils that have been used to handle raw meats are sanitized before being used to handle cooked meats, and
  • to wash their hands carefully after handling raw meats.

Residents of Zealand who develop symptoms of Salmonella gastroenteritis within a week after having consumed pork products – especially at a restaurant, café or institutional cafeteria – should report the illness to their physician.

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