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What is Salmonella? Symptoms of food poisoning, is there an outbreak in chicken and chocolate products in UK

Supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Waitrose, Co-op, Amazon and M&S, as well as coffee chains Starbucks, Costa and Caffé Nero, have all had to issue product recalls

<p>Is the UK currently in the midst of a Salmonella outbreak? (images: Adobe)</p>

Is the UK currently in the midst of a Salmonella outbreak? (images: Adobe)

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been forced to issue a chicken Salmonella outbreak warning for the UK.

Ongoing food poisoning cases from frozen raw breaded chicken and a separate major product recall by key supermarket supplier Cranswick Country Foods have led to fears about the presence of the harmful bacteria.

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Supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Waitrose, Co-op, M&S and Amazon, as well as high street coffee chains Starbucks, Costa and Caffé Nero, have all been forced to issue product recalls.

It comes after a spate of product recalls across several product categories, including chocolate, nuts and melons.

The most high profile of these was Ferrero’s recall of some of its Kinder range in the run up to Easter.

Ferrero’s factory in Belgium is still out of action following a salmonella outbreak (image: AFP/Getty Images)

So what is Salmonella - and which products are currently being impacted by an outbreak in the UK?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is Salmonella?

Typically found living in the guts of animals and humans, it tends to be ejected through faeces.

Salmonella naturally occurs in the gut of most animals, including ones we eat (image: AFP/Getty Images)

However, when farm animals are being reared, slaughtered and then processed, Salmonella bacteria can be transferred into products destined for human consumption.

The highest risk items tend to be raw meat, undercooked poultry, egss, and unpasteurised milk.

Salmonella can also contaminate green vegetables and fruit through muck spreading when farmers try to fertilise their crops, as well as shellfish if it comes into contact with untreated sewage.

Salmonella can be found in dog poo, so always wash your hands after picking up after your pooch (image: Adobe)

Cats and dogs can eject it too, meaning you should always wash your hands when you’ve picked up their poo.

What are Salmonella symptoms?

While Salmonella bacteria can live in our intestines without causing us any trouble, they can make us badly ill if we eat or drink things contaminated by them.

This food poisoning condition is called Salmonellosis, and is particularly serious for children under five-years-old, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

According to the NHS, symptoms include:

  • Feeling sick and being sick
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach cramps
  • A high temperature (above 38 degrees Celsius)
  • Tiredness, aches or chills

These can begin to appear hours, days or even weeks after eating contaminated food.

Food can be cross-contaminated with Salmonella during processing (image: AFP/Getty Images)

How can you avoid Salmonella?

The FSA has several tips for avoiding food poisoning.

These include what it calls the ‘4Cs’: chilling, cleaning, cooking and avoiding cross-contamination.

It also says we should wash our hands thoroughly using soap and water when we:

  • Are about to prepare or eat food
  • Handle raw foods
  • Go to the loo
  • Change a nappy
  • Touch bins
  • Have any sort of contact with pets or animals 

Why is there a chicken Salmonella outbreak?

According to new FSA alerts issued this week, there are two separate UK Salmonella outbreaks relating to chicken.

Cranswick Country Foods outbreak

Cranswick Country Foods is a major supplier of poultry meat to UK supermarkets and high street food chains.

The firm said it had identified Salmonella in a “limited number” of cooked chicken products made at its site near Hull and had issued a recall as a “precautionary measure”.

Its Hull plant has been closed down while the company and the FSA look into the source of the outbreak.

A UK-wide recall has been issued, with customers being urged not to eat affected products and to instead return them to the store they purchased them from in exchange for a full refund.

Here is a full list of which Cranswick products are being recalled:

Tesco

  • Tesco Flame Grilled Chicken Breast Mini Fillets 170g (all use by dates up to and including 20 May)
  • Tesco Chicken Breast Slices 360g (same dates as above)
  • Tesco Chicken Breast Slices 180g (same dates as above)
  • Tesco Tandoori Chicken Pieces 180g (all use by dates up to and including 19 May)
  • Tesco BBQ Chicken Breast Pieces 180g (same dates as above)
  • Tesco Sliced Chicken Breast with Sage & Onion 180g (same dates as above)
  • Tesco Piri Piri Chicken Breast Pieces 180g (same dates as above)
  • Tesco Garlic & Herb Chicken Breast Mini Fillets 170g (same dates as above)
  • Tesco Chicken Breast Slices 180g (Express stores only - same dates as above)
  • Tesco Piri Piri Chicken Breast Mini Fillets 170g (all use by dates up to and including 18 May)
  • Tesco Flame Grilled Chicken Thins 180g (same dates as above)
  • Tesco Tikka Chicken Breast Thins 180g (same dates as above)
  • Tesco Fajita Chicken Breast Mini Fillets 170g (same dates as above)
  • Tesco Coronation Chicken Pieces 180g (same dates as above)

Sainsbury’s

  • By Sainsbury’s Sage & Onion Chicken Breast Slice 180g (all use by dates from 3 May up to and including 20 May)
  • By Sainsbury’s Mexican Chicken Mini Fillets 170g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Piri Piri Chicken Mini Fillets 170g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Firecracker Chicken Slices 160g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Flamegrilled Chicken Grills 180g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Flamegrilled Chicken Mini Fillets 170g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Garlic & Herb Chicken Breast Slices 180g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Grilled Tandoori Chicken Thigh Fillets 150g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Cajun Chicken Grills 180g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Chargrilled Chicken Slices 160g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Chargrilled Chicken Slices 300g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Chargrilled Salt & Chilli Thigh Fillets 150g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Kansas City BBQ Wings 486g (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Café Chicken & Bacon Topped Toastie (all use by dates from 3 May up to and including 14 May 2022)
  • By Sainsbury’s Spring on the Lemon Chicken Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Thai Red Chicken Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsburys Chicken & Bacon Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s TTD Greek Chicken & Tzatziki Premium Wrap (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Jerk Chicken Wrap (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Gluten Free Chicken Caesar Wrap (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Chicken & Sweetcorn Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Chicken and Bacon Sub Roll (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Chicken Fajita Triple Wrap (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Chicken Salad Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Chicken Triple Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Chicken with Pork, Sage & Onion Stuffing Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Chicken, Bacon & Caesar Wrap (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Classic Triple Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Coronation Chicken Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Classic Sandwich Platter (all use by dates from 3 May up to and including 12 May 2022)
  • By Sainsbury’s Gluten Free Sandwich Platter (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Meat Sandwich Platter (same dates as above)
  • By Sainsbury’s Wrap Platter (same dates as above)

Aldi

  • Aldi Flavoured Mini Chicken Fillets; Mango Curry & Shwarma (all use by dates up to and including 19 May 2022)
  • Aldi Chicken & Stuffing Sandwich (all use by dates up to and including 15 May 2022)
  • Aldi Chicken & Sweetcorn Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Aldi Chicken and Bacon Caesar Wraps Mixed (same dates as above)
  • Aldi Chicken and Bacon Caesar Wrap Triple Wrap (same dates as above)
  • Aldi Chicken Fajita Triple Wrap (same dates as above)
  • Aldi Chicken Beechwood Smoked Bacon and Stuffing Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Aldi Eat & Go Chicken and Bacon Club with Mayo (same dates as above)
  • Aldi Eat & Go Classic Selection Chicken Salad, Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Prawn Mayonnaise Sandwiches (same dates as above)
  • Aldi Roast Chicken & Bacon Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Aldi Roast Chicken Salad Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Aldi Sweet Chilli Chicken Triple Wrap (same dates as above)

Waitrose

  • Waitrose Chicken & Bacon Caesar Wrap (all use by dates up to and including 14 May 2022)
  • Waitrose Deep Filled Roast Chicken & Bacon Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Waitrose Deep Filled Roast Chicken & Stuffing Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Waitrose Entertaining Meat Roulade Wrap Selection (same dates as above)
  • Waitrose Essential Chicken Mayo Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Waitrose Roast Chicken & Bacon Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Waitrose Roast Chicken & Stuffing Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Waitrose Roast Chicken & Sweetcorn Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Waitrose Roast Chicken Salad with Salad Cream Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Waitrose Sweet Chilli Chicken with Coconut & Coriander Pickle Wrap (same dates as above)

Co-op

  • Co-op Chicken & Bacon Caesar Wrap (all use by dates up to and including 14 May 2022)
  • Co-op Chicken & Sweetcorn Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Co-op Chicken and Stuffing Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Co-op Chicken Mayo Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Co-op Coronation Chicken Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Co-op Oriental Chicken Curry with Egg Fried Rice 400g (all use by dates up to and including 20 May 2022)
  • Co-op Oriental Chow Mein 375g (same dates as above)
  • Co-op Oriental Sweet and Sour Chicken with Egg Fried Rice 400g (same dates as above)

M&S

  • M&S Deli Filler Coronation Chicken (all use by dates up to and including 17 May 2022)
  • M&S Honey and Mustard Chicken Pasta Salad (all use by dates up to and including 15 May 2022)
  • M&S Chicken and Bacon Layered Salad (same dates as above)
  • M&S Chicken Caesar Salad (same dates as above)
  • M&S 14 Piece Classic Sandwich Platter (all use by dates up to and including 13 May 2022)
  • M&S Made Without Wheat Gluten Free Chicken & Bacon Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • M&S Roast Chicken & Bacon Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • M&S Roast Chicken & Salad Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • M&S The Café Classic Selection (same dates as above)
  • M&S The Café Gluten Free Chicken Salad (same dates as above)
  • M&S Chicken & Bacon Caesar Wrap (all use by dates up to and including 12 May 2022)
  • M&S Classic Mini Roll Selection (same dates as above)

Amazon

  • Amazon Arabiatta Chicken Pasta Salad (all use by dates up to and including 12 May 2022)
  • Amazon BBQ Chicken Hot wrap (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Chicken and Bacon Caesar Baguette (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Chicken and Spinach Protein Pot (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Chicken Caesar Wrap (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Chicken Tikka Bites (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Chicken Triple Sandwich (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Harissa Chicken and Grain Salad (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Katsu Chicken and Coconut Slaw (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Lemongrass Chicken Grain Salad (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Mexican Chicken Mini Salad (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Sweet Chilli Chicken Noodle Salad (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Thai Chicken Hot Box (same dates as above)
  • Amazon Tikka Chicken & Masala Potato (same dates as above)

Starbucks

  • Starbucks Coronation Chicken Sandwich (all use by dates up to and including 13 May 2022)

Costa Coffee

  • Costa British Chicken Fajita Wrap (all use by dates up to and including 15 May 2022)
  • Costa British Roast Chicken & Bacon Classic Toastie (same dates as above)
  • Costa Chicken & Chorizo Stonebaked Panini (same dates as above)

Caffé Nero

  • Caffé Nero Chargrilled Chicken Salad Sandwich (all use by dates up to and including 13 May 2022)

One Stop

  • One Stop BBQ Chicken Chunks 180g (all use by dates up to and including 19 May 2022)
  • One Stop Sliced Roast Chicken Breast 180g (same dates as above)

The ‘Jamie Oliver deli by Shell’ Spicy Chipotle BBQ Chicken Wrap (dates up to and including 13 May) is also included in the recall.

Ongoing frozen breaded chicken outbreak

The other warning relates to an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis (a specific form of the bacteria) that began in 2020.

This latter outbreak relates to frozen raw breaded chicken products, including: nuggets, goujons, poppers and Kievs.

But the FSA says food poisoning cases linked to this outbreak are lower than they were in previous years thanks to “control measures” and product recalls.

Since January 2020, there have been 480 reported cases of Salmonellosis.

The FSA says frozen raw, breaded chicken products still carry a Salmonella risk (image: Adobe)

No particular reason has been given for the outbreak.

“Our advice is to always take care when storing, handling and cooking these types of frozen breaded chicken products to help reduce the risk of food poisoning to you and your family,”said FSA chief operating officer Colin Sullivan.

“You should always check the cooking instructions on food packaging, as different brands of the same product might have different instructions.

“Cooking food at the right temperature and for the correct length of time will ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed.”

Which other products currently have a Salmonella risk?

Chicken is not the only product to have a Salmonella risk at the moment.

Kinder chocolate has also been the subject of widespread recalls owing to a Salmonella outbreak at its factory in Arlon, Belgium.

The brand’s owner Ferrero said it will halt production at the plant until it is “certified by the authorities”.

Kinder products disappeared from shelves in the run up to Easter over Salmonella fears (image: AFP/Getty Images)

It acknowledged “internal inefficiencies, creating delays in retrieving and sharing information in a timely manner” and said these had “impacted the speed and effectiveness of the investigations”.

The company said it “deeply” regrets what has happened and apologised to consumers and its partners.

Whole honeydew, cantaloupe and galia melons that came from Costa Rica or Honduras and were bought either on or before 28 May 2021 are affected.

They should be thrown away as a precaution, the FSA said.