Medical newspaper online, 11.10.2019
Are there more deaths than previously thought in the food scandal surrounding Wilke's Northwest meat business? The Robert Koch Institute now reports on the third death of Listeria.
By Anne Bäurle and Christoph Winnat
Listeria monocytogenes can cause invasive listeriosis in immunocompromised patients with sepsis, meningitis, or encephalitis.
© Dr. Gary Gaugler / OKAPIA / Alliance Alliance
NEW Isenburg. The Wilke meat processor scandal may be more far-reaching than previously thought. As reported by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in the current Epidemiological Bulletin (41/2019), in 2014 there was already an infection with the Listeria type, which is a "very close relationship" with the species of Listeria "from foods not closer to the named plant from Hessea ". RKI cannot name the sausage maker. The affiliation of the RKI report with Wilke, meanwhile, set up the consumer protection organization Foodwatch on Thursday.
12 affected countries
Sigma 1 listeria (Listeria type 2521 cluster, serogroup IIA) detected in 2014 also sporadically occur in 2016 and 2017 (3 or 4 cases), according to RKI, until the increase in infections occurred in mid-2018 (21 cases). In 2019, there have been 8 reported cases of Sigma 1. Liisteria infections. These 37 cases from 2014 to 2019 are spread across 12 states.
However, "it is assumed that this outbreak of listeriosis is underdeveloped," the report said, so the number of infections could be even higher. Fourteen of the sigma 1 patients with listeriosis were referred to the institute as deceased, and three patients were reported to have died "directly or indirectly from listeriosis." According to RKI, three patients come from Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony-Anhalt – in the current scandal surrounding the meat processor, Wilke has so far referred to only two deaths from the southern Hesse region. This regional task was clearly wrong.
Find the source of the infection
According to the RKI, many of the 37 patients were elderly (middle age 74 years) and were in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes or the like for other medical reasons before listeriosis. Because patients have been treated for various ailments and have been placed in different health care settings, the RKI considers that medicines and medical products are unlikely to cause the infection.
Instead, the institute suspects that the cause of the infection is the supply of food facilities. The RKI therefore requested the competent health authorities to establish food supply information in the affected establishments. If there were indications from Wilke, the extent of the food scandal would be significantly higher than previously assumed.
Bad surveillance witness
The Bundesverband Verbraucherzentrale (vzbv) has asked on Friday to extract the consequences from the food control scandal. "The enlightenment is too long, the information is bad. It must not continue" like this, "said board member Klaus Müller. Consumer ministers should convene an extraordinary conference" to decide on more effective measures to improve food control and crisis response. "
Local food control was "outdated". Instead, the responsibility for oversight should be at the national level in the future. In the event of a crisis, the federal government should take over the coordination. Consumers need to be informed more quickly and comprehensively about recalls and critical supply chains.
But not only does public scrutiny set the case for Wilke in a bad light. Private quality assurance is also unsatisfactory: The IFS Standardization Company announces that Wilke withdrew its IFS Food certification on October 2, 2009, which has certified the company’s process and quality over many years. In July, Wilke underwent an announced revision with minor flaws ("baseline"). By 2018, the operation had even "gone higher."
Further contributions from this topic