The Food Standards Agency is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella among 51 people potentially linked to ham sold by independent butchers.
The food watchdog said today 21 cases in Wales and 30 across England have been confirmed of “an unusual type of Salmonella infection, Salmonella Typhimurium”. Nine people have been hospitalised.
The outbreak was first detected in Wales last month, mainly in the north, but “additional clusters” were being investigated in the Thames Valley, Leeds, Cumbria and Stafford regions, the FSA said. Patients are aged between seven months and 87 years old.
“Consumption of cooked ham from small independent butchers has been identified as a potential common link to the illness,” the FSA said in a statement.
Testing had been carried out on ham that had been supplied to a number of the butchers identified in the investigation, it said, though no trace of Salmonella had yet been found.
“Other hygiene issues were identified that led to one supplier voluntarily withdrawing certain batches of ham,” it added.
The outbreak is also being investigated by Public Health England, Public Health Wales, and local authorities.
Salmonella can cause diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever in infected individuals.
Food poisoning from Salmonella is usually caused by eating contaminated raw or undercooked foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, the FSA added.