14 sickened by Listeria in meat pies, UK, 2010-2013

An outbreak of listeriosis in England affecting 14 people between 2010 and 2012 and linked to the consumption of pork pies was investigated. All 14 individuals were older than 55 years, 12 were men, and 10 reported the presence of an underlying condition.

listeria4All were resident in or had visited either of two English regions and were infected with the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes.

In interviews with 12 patients, 9 reported eating pork pies, and individuals that consumed pork pies were significantly more likely to be infected with an outbreak strain than were individuals with sporadic cases of listeriosis infections in England from 2010 to 2012.

Pork pies were purchased from seven retailers in South Yorkshire or the East Midlands, and the outbreak strain was recovered from pork pies supplied by only the producer in South Yorkshire. The outbreak strain was also recovered from samples of finished product and from environmental samples collected from the manufacturer. The likely source of contamination was environmental sites within the manufacturing environment, and the contamination was associated with the process of adding gelatin to the pies after cooking.

Inadequate temperature control and poor hygienic practices at one of the retailers were also identified as possible contributory factors allowing growth of the pathogen.

Following improvements in manufacturing practices and implementation of additional control measures at the retailers’ premises, L. monocytogenes was not recovered from subsequent food and environmental samples, and the outbreak strain was not detected in further individuals with listeriosis in England.

An outbreak of human listeriosis in England between 2010 and 2012 associated with the consumption of pork pies

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 5, May 2016, pp. 696-889, pp. 732-740(9)

Awofisayo-Okuyelu, A.; Arunachalam, N.; Dallman, T.; Grant, K. A.; Aird, H.; McLauchlin, J.; Painset, A.; Amar, C.


A related paper assessed the microbiological quality of meat pies from retail sale in England, 2013, included a literature review that revealed a range of microbiological hazards responsible for food poisoning and meat pie consumption, and surveillance data from 1992 to 2012 from England indicated that C. perfringens was the most commonly reported cause of outbreaks of foodborne illness.

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 5, May 2016, pp. 696-889, pp. 781-788(8)

McLauchlin, Jim; Aird, Heather; Charlett, Andre; Elviss, Nicola; Fox, Andrew; Kaye, Moira; Willis, Caroline