Councils join hunt for contaminated olives
27 July 2012
The food safety team of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney have been ringing round local food outlets to warn them to remove any jars labelled as Olive Bella Di Cerignola after a national alert.
The Food Standards Agency contacted all food safety teams after someone in Britain was found to be recovering from C.botulinum poisoning after eating olives from a jar.
“An important part of our food safety team’s duties is to be the local lead on national safety alerts. This is quite an unusual product which is not stocked by major food retailers but could be sold via specialist delicatessens or stalls at markets,” said Cllr Mary Neale, Suffolk Coastal’s Cabinet Member for Community Health.
“We are calling all those outlets which we think might possibly stock this product and warning them to remove it from sale, but I would also call on people to check their cupboards in case they have brought a jar somewhere of this contaminated batch,” added Cllr Neale.
Only one jar from the batch is confirmed as having been tested positive for the C.botulinum type B toxin but the national advice is that people should not eat from any of the jars as a sensible precaution.
The product name on the label is Olive Bella Di Cerignola which is branded as DIVINI di Chicco Francesco. It comes in a glass jar with a metal screw top lid, is lot number 161/11, weights 580 grammes, has a best before date of 10/06/2014, and its country of origin is Italy.
“We have been asked by the FSA to contact traders and withdraw any jars that are of the specific lot code and best before date. Any jars that we find will be kept for analysis,” said Cllr Mary Rudd, Waveney’s Portfolio Holder for Community Health.
“Our team in Waveney have called all those potential stores that might have stocked the offending product, and none of them did, but it is of course still possible that some of our residents might have one of these jars of olives at home, so they too need to be vigilant,” added Cllr Rudd.
Foodborne botulism is a rare disease which sees spores growing in food before producing a very powerful neurotoxin which gets into the body when eaten. The incubation period can be between a few hours to eight days but can result in disturbed vision, slurred speech, muscle weaknesses and breathing difficulties due to respiratory muscle paralysis. While it can be treated, recovery can take several weeks.
More information about food alerts and pictures of the olive jars involved in this particular alert can be found on www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/yourbusiness/foodsafety/foodalerts/
Joint press release issued by Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils