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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. 

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BIRD FLU

Denmark closely eyeing German bird flu case

After a worrying new strain of bird flu was found in northern Germany not far from Denmark, Danish officials say they are watching the situation closely but have not raised national threat levels.

Denmark closely eyeing German bird flu case
An official sprays ducks during a cull at a duck farm in northern England last week. Bird flu has now also been discovered just south of the Danish border. Photo: Darren Staples/Scanpix
The German agriculture ministry said on Saturday that a goose with the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain was identified in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The ministry told AFP that it marked the first case of the virus outside of a farm setting in Europe.
 
German officials say they have asked regional authorities to keep an "active watch" on wild birds, which means killing animals suspected of having the virus and conducting screening tests.
 
The Danish Food and Veterinary Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) said that the discovery of an H5N8 case near Denmark would not lead to any official changes at home. 
 
“We are of course watching what happens in the countries around us, but there is no reason to raise the threat level any further. But one should be very aware of their animals, whether they be livestock owners or breeders,” Fødevarestyrelsen spokesman Erik Jepsen told Ritzau. 
 
Danish authorities raised the threat level from low to medium after H5N8 was discovered in several European locations: a turkey farm in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, several farms in the Netherlands, and at a duck farm in Yorkshire, England.

 
Sweden’s agriculture agency Jordbruksverket told farmers last week to put all birds indoors or in covered fenced zones as “a precautionary measure”. 
 
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 400 people, mainly in southeast Asia, since first appearing in 2003.
 
Another strain of bird flu, H7N9, has claimed more than 170 lives since emerging in 2013.
 
The H7N7 strain of avian flu severely hit the Netherlands in 2003 with health authorities destroying some 30 million birds in an effort to quash an outbreak.
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