Sandwich chain Subway linked to deadly salmonella outbreak

Subway attempted to keep its link to the food poisoning outbreak a secret.
August 9, 2008

Sandwich chain Subway linked to deadly salmonella outbreak
Sean Poulter


Implicated: Subway attempted to keep its link to the food poisoning outbreak a secret

The world's biggest sandwich chain has been implicated in a food poisoning outbreak that has claimed 120 victims and left one person dead.

It appears that meat contaminated with salmonella was used by Subway in its sub rolls, which were then served up in outlets across the UK and Ireland.

But health officials have warned that the toll of those affected may be much higher because many did not go to their GP or public health authority after becoming ill.

Subway attempted to keep its link to the food poisoning outbreak a secret

The outbreak has mainly affected young adults, although one child aged just 12 months is known to have fallen ill.

The first cases happened as long ago as February, meaning contaminated sandwiches have been sold for the past five months.

As well as being sold in Subway, the suspect meat - which includes beef, chicken and bacon - has also been used to produce ready-made sandwiches in cafes and canteens across the country.

The news is highly embarrassing for Subway, which had attempted to keep its link to the food poisoning outbreak a secret.


Outbreak: Suspect meat was sold in Subway stores throughout the UK

On Wednesday, the Daily Mail asked the firm's PR company - McKenna Townsend - whether Subway was involved in the salmonella outbreak.

At the time, the company refused to admit its products were involved.

On Thursday, the company issued a statement, again failing to admit its products were implicated in the outbreak.

It also refused to respond to a direct question asking whether Subway products were linked.

But the attempted cover-up failed yesterday when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland revealed suspect meat was supplied to Subway.

A statement on the watchdog's website reads: 'Information gathered by the FSAI suggests that potentially contaminated beef product was supplied to the Subway chain of food outlets.'

After the announcement, Subway was forced to issue a statement. It said it became aware of the problem last weekend - before the Daily Mail began making inquiries - and had withdrawn batches of Philly Style Steak and Chicken Fajita.

A statement added: 'The Subway chain has total confidence that its supply chain is safe and secure.'

The salmonella strain - known as Agona - is relatively rare but can cause severe stomach upsets and may require hospital treatment.

The original source is believed to be Dawn Farm Foods based at Naas, County Kildare.

Nikki Haine, a spokesman for McKenna Townsend, refused to say why she had attempted to keep the Subway link a secret.

A woman in her late 70s who died on July 16 is the only known fatality of the outbreak.

It is not yet known whether she ate a roll from Subway, although it is thought unlikely.

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not debate this issue live on our message boards. The comments below have been moderated in advance.

1. This out break will be the end of Subway in this country. All the Franchise's will now have to close or spend a fortune in having their entire premises 'cleaned' as this bacteria spreads like a wild fire.
- victor arram, westcliff, 09/8/2008 08:13

2. Subway is obviously totally indifferent to its customers health and safety. It would have just carried on serving this stuff to the public. VOTE WITH YOUR FEET DEAR PUBLIC!
- michael j kay, northwich england, 09/8/2008 07:57

3. I went once to a subway and I would not go again, mashed up pureed food, awful1t
- Tracey, Tonbridge, Kent, 09/8/2008 07:43

4. I am not surprised. Subway is not good on hygiene. The staff do not appear to know basic hygiene. The shops are grubby especially the toilets. I stopped using Subway when I moved to Southampton. Subway is yuck!
- Sue, Southampton, 09/8/2008 07:33

5. Doesn't surprise me - I haven't used Subway since my b - in -law worked there for a few months four years ago and told me that they used the same cloths to clean the worktop as they did the bathroom!! I know it's a franchise and cleanliness varies but this put me off BIGTIME!!
- Julia, Vancouver Island Canada, 09/8/2008 01:51

6. Even under the headline 'deadly salmonella' that sandwhich pictured looks very appetising…
- Julie, Leicester, UK, 08/8/2008 23:35

7. Subways make me sick even if I haven't been food poisoned.
- C R Ackhewer, Bournemouth England, 8/8/2008 18:30

8. Very interesting. I purchased a Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich from a Subway store in Feb 2008 at around 1pm. At 3pm I became violently ill and was virtually paralised from pain and lay still on the bathroom floor for over an hour deliberating on wether to call 999.

I haven't been back to subway since….
- Aaron, Birmingham, 8/8/2008 17:26

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