One of the UK’s leading supermarkets may have put thousands of people at risk of contracting Hepatitis E, according to a report by Public Health England [PHE].
The report claims that up to 200,000 people could have been infected by the virus each year between 2014 and 2016 after eating the retailer’s own brand pork products.
Hepatitis E can cause liver cirrhosis and neurological damage in vulnerable people.
Researchers made the discovery after trying to find the connection between 60 people infected with the virus.
They discovered all the infected people had own consumed own brand sausages and ham from a mainstream retailer known only as ‘Supermarket X’.
PHE and the Foods Standards Agency [FSA] have refused to name the store.
A spokesman from PHE said: “We clearly state in the paper that the association with the supermarket does not infer any blame.
“If it was thought there was an immediate public health threat or available preventative measures, we would have taken action.”
The pork products containing the infection came from Europe, mainly Holland and Germany – and not the UK.
A source allegedly told The Sunday Times newspaper that the retailer was Tesco, though a retailer from the store refused to comment on the allegations specifically.
They did say: “Food quality is really important to us and we have in place an expert team to ensure the highest possible standards at every stage of our supply chain, as well as providing clear information to customers on how to handle and cook pork in the home to minimise the risk of hepatitis E.”
A spokesperson for the FSA added that the agency is ‘reviewing all aspects of hepatitis E’.