Scottish E. coli outbreak linked to venison products

Nine cases of infection with the same strain of E. coli have been reported from across Scotland, associated with the consumption of venison products, according to Health Protection Scotland (HPS).

All cases involved had either consumed products (steaks, grillsteaks, sausages and meatballs) which had been purchased raw from a wide range of outlets and cooked at home or were fellow household members and likely to be secondary cases.

Scottish game supplier Highland Game has also reportedly been linked to the outbreak in the HPS investigation.

A statement from Food Standards Scotland (FSS)said: Epidemiological investigations led by HPS and Scottish health boards into an outbreak of E. coli O157 have pointed to a link with certain raw venison products produced by a company called Highland Game with use-by dates from 4 September to 1 October.

A Highland Game spokeswoman said: This is a very rare incident and venison has an excellent track record of safety and standards, and there is no substantiated evidence to support the actual source of the outbreak.

Our stringent hygiene controls at Highland Game are second to none. However, as with all meats, there can be a risk of contamination somewhere in the food chain.

As a precaution and in the interests of public health, anyone who has products as specified in the FSS alert should cook them thoroughly. These products should not present any risk to public health if they are handled and cooked properly.

There is today no concrete evidence that the food scare is related to venison or Highland Game.

She added that the company would not comment further until a full investigation has been concluded and the source of the food scare has been identified.

HPS, FSS, and NHS board health protection colleagues are continuing to investigate the situation.

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