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The Good Food Chain goes into liquidation after NHS listeria outbreak investigation | UK News

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A sandwich manufacturer has gone into liquidation after it was investigated over the listeria outbreak at UK hospitals.

The Good Food Chain was not the source of the outbreak following the deaths of five people at NHS hospitals, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) confirmed on Wednesday.

However, the Staffordshire-based company said on Friday that it was to cease trading with immediate effect and would be going into liquidation following the loss of 125 jobs.

The victims are suspected to have died after eating pre-packaged sandwiches and salads provided by The Good Food Chain.

The affected products were withdrawn from hospitals and Public Health England (PHE) said evidence indicated all the deaths had occurred before the items were removed from circulation on 25 May.

Listeria
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Five people died following a listeria outbreak in UK hospitals

Martyn Corfield, The Good Food Chain’s owner and founder, said he was “absolutely devastated” to hear that people had died after contracting listeriosis.

He said he had been “thinking constantly” about all those affected and their families over the last few weeks and added: “While Wednesday’s confirmation that The Good Food Chain was not the source of the outbreak was welcome, it ultimately came too late in the day for us to get the business back on to a sustainable footing.

“I feel desperately sorry for our brilliant and hardworking staff who, through no fault of their own, now find themselves out of work.”

The firm, which was founded in 1996, employed 125 people, while an additional 40 agency staff were let go at the start of June when production was suspended.

Following the hospital deaths, Health Secretary Matt Hancock ordered a “root and branch” review of NHS food.

Conservative leadership hopeful Health Secretary Matt Hancock
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock ordered a ‘root and branch’ review of NHS food

He said: “I have been incredibly concerned by this issue and strongly believe that we need a radical new approach to the food that is served in our NHS.

“Staff, patients and families deserve so much better – our NHS should be at the forefront of supporting people to make healthy choices.”

The FSA said its investigations were now focused on where the outbreak strain originated from.

The same strain of listeria was identified in meat produced by North Country Cooked Meats, which was used by The Good Food Chain, the FSA added.

Investigators are testing North Country’s supply chain and examining historical detections of listeria. The producer voluntarily stopped distributing on 3 June on a precautionary basis.

A listeria infection can cause mild symptoms, but in pregnant women and those with a weak immune system it can cause serious health issues.

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