Listeria in sandwich cold-cuts killed 8, sickened 20 over past 10 years in UK hospitals

Who are these dieticians in hospitals or aged facilities that keep feeding cold-cuts to the vulnerable? Do they have any food safety training? Didn’t they hear about the 23 elderly who were killed by Maple Leaf cold-cuts in Canada in 2008? Are they like the rest of us and ignore bland messages that state, refrigerated ready-to-eat foods like cold-cuts shouldn’t be consumed by immunocompromised people like the elderly or pregnant? How hard is it to heat the meat?

The UK Sun reports hospital sandwiches were yesterday revealed to have killed eight patients.

Watchdogs yesterday demanded a crackdown on shoddy handling of food after the grim toll over the past ten years was disclosed by the Health Protection Agency.

Twenty others were also poisoned by listeria but survived.

Sarnies were found to account for almost three quarters of outbreaks in hospitals — with the bug found in ham salad, sliced sausage, tuna, cheese and prawn mayo varieties.

Almost all were pre-packed by commercial firms — but at some stage had not been kept below 5°C.

Half of those hit were cancer patients weakened by chemotherapy treatment — leaving them less able to fight off the deadly bug.

The HPA warned: “Vulnerable patients and pregnant women can develop severe illness after ingesting levels that would not have an effect on other individuals. This suggests catering and ward staff are not aware of the importance of temperature control, or that proper methods of refrigeration were not used.”