Listeria outbreak claims 15th victim

A new death was confirmed on Monday and the number of infections has now risen to 38.

A fifteenth person has died from the listeria outbreak, the Danish State Serum Institute (SSI) confirmed on Monday. 
The number of those affected has also risen to 38, SSI said. 
The outbreak has been traced to the deli meat rullepølse produced by the company Jørn A. Rullepølser, which has been shut down. 
A total of 30 products – including variations of rullepølse, salami and hot dogs – were recalled.
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestrylsen) also warned on Monday of a listeria risk in halibut sold by the company Hjerting Laks that was sold in Netto, Irma and Føtex stores. 
The food authorities advised that any consumers who might have halibut (hellefisk in Danish) purchased from Hjerting Laks before June 1st in their freezers to throw it out or return it to where it was purchased. 
Fødevarestrylsen was criticised for not acting quickly enough in responding to the listeria outbreak, with the food and agriculture minister, Dan Jørgensen, saying that “serious mistakes” took place. 
Despite the continuing listeria problems, and recent salmonella and MRSA scares, the government has proposed cutting food safety funding.  

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New listeria discovery in Danish supermarkets

As a year that has been plagued by food scandals comes to an end, a new batch of listeria-infected deli meat has been detected and recalled from supermarkets.

New listeria discovery in Danish supermarkets
Sales of rullepølse have fallen by up to 30 percent due to the listeria outbreak from earlier this year. Photo: Jørgen Kirk/Scanpix
As was the case with a listeria outbreak that has thus far killed 17 people, a new outbreak of the bacteria has been found in the popular spiced deli meat rullepølse.
Nearly 60 kilos of the infected meat was produced by the Aarhus-based company Defco and delivered to Bilka and Føtex supermarkets nationwide. The contaminated batch of meat has an expiration date between December 24-29 and has been recalled by the company. 
Defco CEO Knud E. Czaja said he was surprised by the listeria discovery. 
“We send between 100 and 200 tests into the lab every month to be checked and in one of the tests here at Christmas time, there was a listeria suspicion. Therefore, we are recalling the product,” Czaja told Ritzau. 
“I have no idea how it happened. It could have come through the air or through a person. It is after all found everywhere and this isn’t something we have experienced before,” he added. 
Czaja said that the outbreak that began in August at the food company Jørn A. Rullepølser has caused Defco’s sales of rullepølse to drop by 30 percent. Jørn A. Rullepølser has since been shut down by the food authorities. 
A spokesperson for the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestrylsen) said that the Defco sample contained 180 listeria bacteria per gram, which it characterised as a “moderate” violation of the 100 bacteria per gram limit. 
Anyone who has eaten the infected meat should seek medical attention if they experience flu-like symptoms, the administration spokesperson said.