E.coli outbreak linked to Scottish game company

The E.coli bug.

The E.coli bug.

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AN outbreak of E.coli has been linked to venison produced by a Scottish game company.

Nine people have been struck down with the same strain of the bug - E.coli O157 PT32 - after eating venison products including sausages, steaks and meatballs which were raw when purchased and then cooked at home.

Eight patients are recovering at home and one is being treated in hospital.

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has now traced the products to Highland Game, which sells venison in a range of supermarkets and also supplies meat to Scottish Slimmers.

The products - Scottish Slimmers venison sausages, Scottish Slimmers venison meatballs, Highland Game grillsteaks and venison steaks with pepper sauce - have use-by dates from September 4 to October 1.

Experts said they “should not present a risk to health if they are handled and cooked properly”.

Highland Games has taken “immediate precautionary action”, according to HPS.

A statement from Food Standards Scotland 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 September 4 to October 1.

“As these use-by dates have passed, products will no longer be on sale but consumers may have products in their freezers at home. These products should not present a risk to health if they are handled and cooked properly.

“If, however, consumers still have concerns, they should contact Highland Game directly or contact the retailer where they purchased the product.

“Food Standards Scotland are working closely with Highland Game, who have confirmed that they have taken immediate precautionary action.”

Symptoms of E.coli normally include a fever leading to sickness and diarrhoea.

Advice on precautions which can be taken to reduce the risk of infection have been issued, including washing hands after contact with possible sources such as raw food.

Dr Syed Ahmed, consultant with Health Protection Scotland, said: “It is important that all deer meat should be cooked thoroughly and should not be eaten medium or rare.

“The risk of E.coli O157 infection can be reduced by careful hand-washing, especially after contact with animals, handling raw meats, after going to the toilet and immediately before preparing or eating food and by making sure that food is always properly prepared.”

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