Danish supermarket chain Dansk Supermarked has suspended all trade with domestic supplier Skare Meat Packers (SMP) following the discovery that salmonella-infected ground beef was delivered by SMP to the retailer’s Netto discount grocery stores in June.
Last month, it was revealed that up to 130 people, including a three-year-old boy, may have gotten ill from salmonella in ground beef in an outbreak that was kept hidden from the public until now.
Metroxpress obtained access to documents that reveal that ground beef infected with multi resistant salmonella was sold by the Vejen-based food company Skare in June.
According to earlier reports, Skare delivered the beef to stores on June 13th but did not recall it as required by law when an analysis the following day found the presence of salmonella.
According to the Danish State Serum Institute (SSI), 19 people, including the three-year-old, reported being ill just days later. Beyond the 19 registered cases, SSI estimates that up to 130 people may have been sickened by the tainted meat.
“Six of the 19 were so sick that they were hospitalised,” SSI’s Kåre Mølbak told Metroxpress.
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestrylsen) first traced the infection to Skare a full 40 days after the meat was sent to stores, but the food authorities did not require a recall.
“This is confidential information, the release of which would cause considerable economic harm to the company,” Fødevarestrylsen wrote, according to Metroxpress.
Food safety expert Orla Zinck called the authorities’ decision “a scandal of unimaginable proportions.”
“Fødevarestrylsen’s acts are a danger to consumers’ health when it, out of consideration for Skare’s revenues, fails to recall dangerous meat and on top of that hides where it was sold,” Zinck told Metroxpress.
Fødevarestrylsen has also faced criticism for its slow reaction to a listeria outbreak that has caused 16 deaths.