South West Wales

Salmonella outbreak: Laverbread 'precaution' stresses company

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPenclawdd Shellfish says tests on its seaweed are clear

A company making laverbread from seaweed says it volunteered to withdraw its product from sale solely as a precaution after a salmonella outbreak.

Twelve cases have emerged in the west Wales area, of which 10 had eaten laverbread before they became ill.

Penclawdd Shellfish Ltd said all tests on their laverbread over the last week had come back negative.

The firm stressed there was only a "possible link" to laverbread, which would be on sale again within a week.

Three people in the Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire areas needed hospital treatment following the illness outbreak.

On Tuesday, Public Health Wales asked anyone who bought laverbread that day or earlier which may have come from the Penclawdd area to throw it away.

Penclawdd Shellfish Ltd's director Mark Swistun said on Wednesday: "I would like to make it clear that Penclawdd Shellfish Ltd have voluntarily withdrawn the fresh laverbread from stores, only as a precaution.

"All our testing is done by an independent laboratory and I would like to stress that all results from our laverbread have never shown positive for salmonella or any other bacterial contamination in the 20 years we have been supplying the product.

"All results from samples taken by the environmental health department have never tested positive and samples taken over the last week have all returned negative.

"We have worked alongside the local authority with the report of a possible link, and I must stress a possible link, to laverbread."

Illness source 'unclear'

Public Health Wales' Dr Jörg Hoffman, a consultant in communicable disease control, said: "We know that the majority of cases have eaten laverbread produced by Penclawdd.

"The company has cooperated fully with our investigations and has chosen to voluntarily withdraw the product from sale as a precaution.

"Laverbread is generally a safe product to eat, and it remains unclear whether it is indeed the source of this outbreak.

"However, given that we cannot rule out laverbread at present, it is very important that, to avoid the risk of illness, anyone with this product at home does not eat it."

Laverbread is the boiled and minced laver seaweed, often fried with bacon and cockles as a traditional Welsh breakfast dish. The seaweed is eaten worldwide, especially in Asia, and is often used in Japanese sushi dishes.

Salmonella is one of a number of organisms that gives rise to illness collectively known as food poisoning.

Infection with salmonella can cause watery and sometimes bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Anyone who is concerned about their health should contact their GP or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites