Poultry factory halts production after chicken products recalled over salmonella fears

A number of popular supermarkets have recalled many of their chicken products. Credit: PA

A poultry factory in Hull has halted production after some of the nation’s top supermarkets and food chains removed chicken products from their shelves over salmonella fears.

Food processing company Cranswick said a routine internal inspection at its Hull plant had found salmonella in "a limited number of cooked chicken products" prepared there.

The affected products go into sandwiches and meals sold at retailers across the country.

Pret A Manger, Aldi, Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer are among those understood to have pulled products from their shelves due to the possible presence of salmonella in some batches of cooked chicken.

Cranswick said it was working with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to resolve the issue.

The FSA said salmonella was detected in four batches of cooked chicken as of May 12 - but Cranswick have "taken the precautionary approach to recall products where salmonella has not been found, whilst they continue to investigate the cause of the contamination".

In a statement Cranwick said: "We are conducting a thorough investigation into the possible cause of the contamination and the site will remain closed until the investigations are complete.

"The safety and quality of every product produced by Cranswick is our number one priority and all necessary protocols will be followed and completed before we restart production."

Salmonella is a form of bacteria often found in raw or undercooked meat, raw eggs, milk, and other dairy products.

Symptoms of salmonellosis, which include vomiting and fever, typically resolve themselves within a few days, but they can be more severe and lead to hospitalisation, especially in the very young and those with weakened immune systems.

The FSA said 113 different products are involved in the recall - retailers include Amazon, Caffe Nero, Costa, Jamie Oliver deli by Shell, One Stop and Starbucks.

Here are the supermarkets and food chains that have removed chicken items from their shelves:

  • Pret A Manger

Pret A Manger has removed most of its chicken items from its menu.It is understood Pret A Manger's supplier alerted it to a salmonella risk at one site, prompting the high-street restaurant to make the move as a precautionary measure.

“As a precautionary measure, we’ve temporarily removed the majority of chicken items on our menu due to a potential food safety risk at one of our suppliers," a Pret A Manger spokesperson said.

"We hope to have these products back in shops soon. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

  • Aldi

Aldi is recalling a number of products containing chicken - including wraps, sandwiches, flavoured fillets - with use by dates up to and including May 15.

  • Sainsburys

Similarly, Sainsburys is recalling the majority of its chicken sandwiches, chicken wraps, chicken sandwich platters, chicken toasties, chicken slices and some cooked chicken.

"This is a precautionary measure as our supplier has alerted us that salmonella has been detected in some batches of cooked chicken," a spokesperson said.

"We are asking customers not to consume the product and to return it to their nearest Sainsbury’s store, where they will receive a full refund."

  • Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer has issued a "precautionary recall" of several chicken products (including sandwiches, wraps, rolls,and pasta salads) due to the possibility that a small number of them may contain salmonella.

In a notice on its website, the company said: "Customer safety is of paramount importance to Marks & Spencer and we take all issues regarding the production of our foods extremely seriously."

Chicken and bacon caesar wraps, roast chicken and bacon sandwiches and chicken honey mustard pasta salad are among the 12 products being recalled.

  • Tesco

Tesco is recalling packs of chicken breast pieces and slices as well as mini fillets.

  • Waitrose

At Waitrose, 10 chicken-based sandwiches and wraps have been recalled.

  • Co-op

The supermarket chain has recalled its Oriental chicken curry with egg fried rice, Oriental sweet and sour chicken with egg fried rice and Oriental chow mein, as well as a number of chicken wraps and sandwiches.

How long is the recall likely to last - when will affected products be back on the shelves?

The FSA said: "Cranswick Country Foods have taken the precautionary step of stopping production while they investigate the cause of the outbreak. The site is being deep cleaned and microbiological investigations will take place before production restarts. The Local Authority will determine when the site reopens."

Cranswick said in a statement it "can confirm that a routine internal inspection has identified the presence of Salmonella in a limited number of cooked chicken products prepared at our poultry facility in Hull."

It added: "These products are sold as ingredients for sandwiches and meals through UK retailers and food to go outlets.

"As a precautionary measure, we have asked our customers to remove any of their products containing our ready to eat chicken produced during the affected period. We are working closely with the Foods Standards Agency and will collaborate with their experts to resolve the matter."

In April, a salmonella outbreak linked to Kinder products produced in Belgium saw a number of children become seriously unwell, with many having to be admitted to hospital for treatment.

Retailers were reminded to carry out urgent checks to make sure all Ferrero and Kinder sweets subject to a product recall had been removed from sale.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know