Thursday, 16 October 2014

Foodstuffs response to public release of the ERS report on Yersinia pseudotuberculosis

Since being advised of the ESR report on Monday Foodstuffs has been working with the MPI and running a parallel investigation to determine the possible source of the Yersinia contamination, and whether there is any link to our products.

It is clear from all of the reports to date, that a definitive answer to these questions is still very uncertain.  We do however now believe, based on the timeline of events and the scientific reports provided by the ESR, that the most likely source of the contamination is farm based.  In exploring our own supply chain, should the contamination have come from Pams Lettuce, we can confirm we have been able to narrow our investigation down to a single paddock from the supplier, Living Foods.  This paddock has been quarantined at our request and further independent testing has been commissioned alongside the MPI investigation.

This rapid and thorough traceability in our supply chain has allowed us to be able to give our customers assurance that all Pams Fresh Express products on our shelves, or in people’s homes not past their best before dates, are safe for consumption.

We do understand the frustration those who have suffered from Yersinia feel and their desire to get answers quickly as to how they became unwell.  To ensure the safety of the food sold to our customers, we remain determined to get to the bottom of the cause of the outbreak, regardless of whether our products were involved or not.

Finally, we can confirm that the results of our initial supplier audit review are expected early next week and sample analysis results from a certified independent laboratory are expected in towards the end of the month. We hope our results along with the findings of the MPI investigation will give all parties clarity as to how such an incidence could occur.

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Notes to editors:

Foodstuffs investigation has excluded Pams bagged carrots as a likely source of contamination because no one supplier of Pams is responsible for distribution to both the north and south island where sickness has been reported. The MPI continues to investigate all potential sources identified.

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