An outbreak of potentially deadly Listeria bacteria took Thai chicken sandwiches off the menu at Midddlemore Hospital's Aviary Cafe in Auckland.
Listeria-infected Thai chicken sandwiches were sold to dozens of unsuspecting people in the cafť on Monday according to public health officials in Auckland.
According to experts though there is a low risk of illness with listeria for most people, it could have serious consequences for some. Illness with listeria sometimes takes 70 days to develop and manifest itself in a person.
Greg Simmons from Auckland Regional Public Health says, "Those with very low immunity can get quite a nasty illness involving headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches and joint aches - and they can end up quite severely ill and in some situations in hospital."
Listeria was also found in the beef in sandwiches and salads served at Waikato Hospital's cafes during a routine test at the hospital. Public officials have said that for five days the infected food was sold at the hospital's cafes and even served to patients for three days.
The source of contamination has been identified as Leonard's brand meat products that supplied to, at least three hospitals and more than thirty cafes last month.
Naturezone, the company that supplied the infected chicken sandwiches to Middlemore Hospital will remain closed for a while for a thorough clean out operation.† The meat products were also supplied to BP and Caltex service stations in the North Island, but their products were taken off the shelves in order to contain the spread of Listeria.
Naturezone staff left this message on their answer phone: "We have a very strict food safety and auditing system in place, and last night we asked all our customers to withdraw our products from sale as a precaution."