Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Duck egg warning after Doncaster man dies of salmonella

Niptoon Tavakoli Image copyright Donna Martin
Image caption Niptoon Tavakoli turned 65 while in intensive care

The family of a man who died of salmonella has warned about eating duck eggs.

Niptoon Tavakoli's family said he fell ill after consuming duck eggs bought at a village fair.

Public Health England say there has been a second case of salmonella involving someone who also said they ate duck eggs from the same source.

However, this has not been confirmed as the source of infection.

Mr Tavakoli's sister-in-law Donna Martin said: "We just want to try and make people aware, if you buy duck eggs, please cook them thoroughly.

"We would never want another family to go through what we have."

She "strongly believes" Mr Tavakoli, of Lindholme, Doncaster, contracted salmonella from duck eggs he bought at the Messingham Show in North Lincolnshire on Sunday 2 June.

He fried and ate four of the eggs. His family said he knew how to prepare them from years of working in the catering trade.

After falling ill with sickness and diarrhoea he was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary on 10 June.

Doctors found evidence of salmonella and 65-year-old Mr Tavakoli died of organ failure on 12 August.

Image caption The British Lion Mark was introduced so hens' eggs could be traced back to the farm of origin

The Food Standards Agency said eggs with the British Lion Mark were virtually free of salmonella, however this only applies to hens' eggs.

Vulnerable groups are advised to avoid raw or lightly cooked duck eggs.

Mr Tavakoli had previously undergone a triple heart bypass although his family insisted he was "a very fit and healthy man".

His family said he bought the duck eggs from the Melton Deli stall at the Messingham Show.

Neither the Messingham Show nor the Melton Deli would comment on Mr Tavakoli's death.

What are the regulations around duck eggs?

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said small-scale producers of chicken and duck eggs selling direct to the consumer, including via a local shop or public event, are covered by food safety laws, which are overseen by the Food Standards Agency and local councils.

Commercial farming is covered by EU regulations.

The British Poultry Council also runs a voluntary duck assurance scheme for British producers which is open to any farm or facility involved in the duck production process that can meet its strict requirements.

Public Health England is continuing to investigate along with partners including council environmental health officers.

Jenny Sercombe, who supplies duck eggs from a site near Leicester, confirmed she was visited by environmental health on Friday.

She sold eggs to Melton Deli but said the dates on which they were provided do not match up with the Messingham Show.

"I find it hard to believe it's from my eggs," she said. "I've never had any problem with my ducks.

"No-one else has got ill; family and friends have had them and they've been fine."

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption In 1988, a scare over the presence of salmonella in hens' eggs caused a dramatic collapse in sales

Public Health England has confirmed a second case of salmonella in the West Midlands with the same strain type.

Dr Mike Gent, deputy director of Health Protection at Public Health England, Yorkshire and the Humber, said: "Investigations have established that prior to their infection, the two cases ate duck eggs from the same trader who purchased them from a farm in the East Midlands, though it is important to note that these eggs are not confirmed as the source of infection.

"Both the supplier and the trader concerned are no longer selling duck eggs."

An inquest into Mr Tavakoli's death is expected to take place in February.

Update 2 September: This article was amended to include additional information about the environmental health investigation.

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