Public Health Lawyers Instructed To Investigate
A County Durham woman still suffering from the serious effects of salmonella linked to pork scratchings more than two months after diagnosis is among a group of people to instruct specialist lawyers to investigate.
Mr Porky products, made by Tayto Group Ltd, in a factory in Bolton, were recalled in September after 179 people were reported to have suffered diarrhoea, vomiting and fever following consumption. A number were also reported to have been hospitalised.
At the time of the reports, Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency urged people not to eat packets with a best-before date up to February 2022.
A spokesman for the Tayto Group said at the time: “The safety of our products is of the utmost importance, which is why we have taken the decision to initiate a precautionary recall for some products. We are working closely with the local environmental health team and the FSA at this time.”
Susan Williamson, 64, from Blackhall Colliery, was among those affected and taken to hospital. She was diagnosed with Salmonella Infantis after eating pork scratchings. She underwent a number of follow-up tests and was later diagnosed with heart failure.
She has now instructed public health experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how she fell ill and whether her heart failure is linked to her illness. The legal specialists supports people affected by illness outbreaks such as the well-known outbreaks of salmonella at the Real China restaurant and the Newcastle Spice Festival, as well as the much publicised Chapman and Sons butchers’ salmonella in County Durham outbreak in 2018.
Irwin Mitchell is now instructed by eight people who say they have fallen ill after eating Mr Porky products.
Expert Opinion“Susan is among a number of people who have been diagnosed with Salmonella Infantis and other illnesses after consuming pork scratchings.
Not only is salmonella a serious bacterial infection, it can often lead to ongoing and long-lasting health problems, and even death. In some cases, salmonella has been known to have the ability to lead to cardiovascular complications. We’re now investigating how our clients fell ill and also whether Susan’s heart failure is linked to her salmonella infection.
While we can’t change what Susan and the other people we represent are going through, we’re determined to get them the answers they deserve as to how this happened and will support them throughout the process. If any others have also fallen unwell like Susan after eating pork scratchings we would like to hear from them as this will assist us with our investigations.
It’s also important that if during the course of our investigations any issues are identified, necessary lessons are learned to ensure food hygiene standards are met in the future.”
Clare Pearson - Legal Executive & Associate
Susan purchased a multipack of five bags of pork scratchings on 3 August and consumed them over a few days. She fell ill on 8 August and over the next few days she started suffer with sickness and diarrhoea and her symptoms also included hallucinations.
She contacted her GP and the NHS 111 service as her condition deteriorated over the following days. On 12 August, Susan was taken to hospital by ambulance and admitted. She was put on a drip overnight and discharged the next morning,
Two days later, Susan was readmitted to hospital. She was diagnosed with Salmonella Infantis on 17 August, before being discharged on 23 August.
Susan subsequently consulted her GP surgery on various occasions, complaining of breathing issues, loss of appetite, fatigue and shaking. On 17 September, she attended hospital where she was given a chest X-ray. An ECG was performed and she was found to have suffered heart failure and was readmitted to hospital.
Doctors have told Susan she will need ongoing care and a procedure on her heart.
Susan and her husband, Paul, had been due to go on a couple of holidays in their motor home but these were cancelled because of her illness. Life has still not gone back to normal for Susan as she is still suffering tiredness and the complications arising from the salmonella. Susan has been reliant on the love and care from her husband Paul during this difficult period.
She said: “The last few months have been an absolute nightmare and it doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon.
“When I fell ill after eating the pork scratchings, I thought it might make me a bit sick and off colour for a few days. Never did I ever imagine that it would lead to salmonella and I would still be suffering more than two months on.
“I’m still very unwell now and have been told I’ll need medical care for a long time. It’s been such a traumatic time for me and my family.
“It’s also very worrying to think that there could be more people out there suffering like I am, and we deserve to have some answers as to how this happened. I know an investigation can’t change what I’m going through, but at the very least it can hopefully help prevent it happening to others in the future.”
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