South West Wales

'Laverbread' salmonella outbreak: Five fresh cases emerge

Five new cases of salmonella with possible links to laverbread have emerged in the past week bringing the total number to 17, said Public Health Wales.

Tests are continuing to confirm whether they are all linked to the outbreak, which has nine confirmed cases so far.

Cases have been reported across south and west Wales.

Three people have needed hospital treatment, but have been discharged.

Health officials said a study has confirmed a strong association with laverbread from Penclawdd Shellfish Processing Ltd, probably produced and distributed between 5 and 8 March.

Last week, the company voluntarily withdrew its laverbread from sale as a precaution.

Samples taken from its Swansea factory have not shown any evidence of salmonella in either food or in the environment, said Public Health Wales.

Dr Jorg Hoffman, consultant in communicable disease control, said: "Public Health Wales, the Food Standards Agency and environmental health officers from five councils are investigating an outbreak of salmonella that has now affected up to 17 people."

Eaten worldwide

He added that laverbread was generally a safe product to eat, and it remained unclear whether it was the source of this outbreak.

Cases of salmonella have so far been identified in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire, Rhondda Cynon Taf and the Vale of Glamorgan.

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.

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