Food-borne illnesses are a growing concern worldwide, and recent trends indicate an increase in the number of outbreaks. One food that has been at the center of many of these outbreaks is chicken. This is not surprising given that chicken is a popular meat across the globe and is used in various cuisines. In this article, we delve into a recent food poisoning outbreak caused by contaminated chicken used in kebabs. The outbreak affected many people, leading to severe illness and death in some cases. We explore the factors that led to the contamination, the consequences of the outbreak, and the measures that can be taken to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
Contaminated Chicken Causes Food Poisoning Outbreak in Ireland
An outbreak of food poisoning in Ireland has been linked to contaminated chicken found in kebab meat products. Four people have been hospitalised as a result, according to a report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which has identified Salmonella Virchow ST16 in four European Union countries, as well as in Ireland. Since June 2017, there have been a total of 210 cases identified across the affected countries, with France reporting the highest number of cases (111), followed by the Netherlands (34) and Denmark (2). Despite rates of hospitalisation differing throughout the various countries, no deaths were reported.
Although Ireland only reported four cases (two each in 2017 and 2018), all were hospitalised, and the ages of those affected ranged from 55 to 84 years. The four cases consisted of one male and three females, two of whom had come into contact with pet dogs, while the third had lived on a farm with exposure to cattle. The remaining case was a possible secondary case, likely to have been infected through household transmission.
The ECDC noted in its statement that the number of confirmed cases only represents a small proportion of those infected due to varying sequencing capacities of countries affected. Consequently, new infections are likely to continue affecting any age group throughout the EU/EEA until the source(s) and point(s) of contamination along the chicken meat production chain can be identified.
The outbreak of food poisoning in Ireland highlights the issue of food safety in the EU, demonstrating that the industry must do more to minimise risk and safeguard the health of its citizens. Food safety regulations are critical for food producers, retailers and distributors to maintain high levels of safety and make sure that their products do not contain any harmful substances.
Salmonella Virchow ST16 is a common strain of the bacterial infection found in poultry and other animals. Food safety experts have identified it as an increasing concern due to its resistance to antibiotics. The strain has been responsible for many food safety outbreaks around the world in recent years, including Europe, Asia and Africa.
Some experts have suggested that the recent outbreak highlights the need for improved food safety and regulation enforcement in the EU. The EU’s Food Safety Authority believes that around 23 million people suffer from foodborne illnesses across Europe every year, with around 5,000 resulting in fatalities. Despite this, around 98% of these cases go unreported.
To ensure food safety, all actors must work together, including the farmers, the logistics providers, the manufacturers, retail shops, and public bodies. Also, consumers must be more informed, with a better understanding of food safety and proper handling of perishable foods. Food safety communication campaigns must be organised to raise awareness and increase consumer confidence in the safety and quality of food products offered in their countries.
In conclusion, an outbreak of food poisoning linked to contaminated chicken found in kebab meat products has caused four hospitalisations in Ireland. Salmonella Virchow ST16 infections have been identified in four EU countries and a total of 210 cases since June 2017. The contaminated chicken highlights the need for the EU to improve its food safety regulations and enforcement, as well as to foster greater awareness among consumers. Nevertheless, to maintain food safety, all parties involved in the food industry must work together towards preventing the spread of bacterial infections and other foodborne illnesses.