Denmark investigates Salmonella outbreak; Norway expands recalls

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Danish officials are investigating a Salmonella outbreak that has affected more than 20 people with more than half of them admitted to hospitals.

Since mid-November 2020, 23 people have been recorded with the same type of Salmonella Typhimurium in the country, according to the Statens Serum Institut (SSI).

Those sick live across Denmark and there are 13 women and 10 men affected. They are aged 2 to 92 years old. Twelve people have been hospitalized. Nine are sick in Hovedstaden, six in Syddanmark, four in Sjælland while Midtjylland and Nordjylland both have two patients each.

Interviews with those affected have shown they had not been traveling before they became ill, that they did not know each other and they had not participated in joint events.

Officials said this suggests the source of infection is a type of food sold throughout the country. The fact that patients have been reported for four months also points it being a product with a long shelf life.

Norway reports Salmonella in meat from Germany
Meanwhile, a number of meat products have been withdrawn recently in Norway because of findings of Salmonella. All items so far come from a couple of batches of meat from Germany.

Salmonella Enteritidis was found in one batch, prompting the recall of products made from this lot, including several types of minced (ground) meat.

At least 22 people have fallen sick as part of this outbreak and 10 have needed hospital treatment. Patients are aged from 11 to 91 years old and almost two thirds are women.

NorgesGruppen issued a recall for certain items supplied by Norfersk. All were out of date but authorities were concerned consumers could have them at home in their freezers. The batch of beef was imported into the country by Prima Jæren. Further recalls in connection with this batch were made by Coop Norge SA and Unil AS.

Tests for Salmonella before import in mid-January were negative but a sample submitted to an accredited laboratory came back positive. Prima Jæren started trading with the implicated slaughterhouse eight years ago.

This incident also involves the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and INFOSAN as well as Denmark and France, according to a RASFF alert.

Salmonella in pork
Salmonella Typhimurium was also found in a batch of pork in Norway and is resistant to several types of antibiotics, according to officials.

This discovery led to the withdrawal of a number of products but so far there are no reports of illnesses. Nortura SA, Fana Kjøtt, Taga Foods AS and Grilstad all posted recalls as they had used raw materials that are suspected to be contaminated.

When Salmonella is found in imported meat companies must take steps to ensure the bacteria die, for example by using heat treatment, so it can be safely sold to the consumer. Mattilsynet ordered a recall for all meat from the affected batches that was not heat-treated.

Norway has also made two notifications for monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium in chilled pork meat from Germany and one for Salmonella Derby in chilled pork sides from the same country since the other alerts.

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