So far there have been 23 cases of Listeria in France, over an unspecified period, which have resulted in seven deaths. The cases are widely distributed within 19 French Departements, but appear - on the basis of laboratory tests - to be from a single source.
Two-thirds of the people affected are reported to have eaten pork tongue in jelly. Contrary to reports carried in a UK newspaper yesterday, the products were not tinned but were fresh, refrigerated meats sold in bulk to be sliced and packed by the retailer.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said:
"As a precautionary measure, the public should not consume pork tongue in jelly that has been bought or produced in France. Although there is at present no evidence to implicate any specific company, one French company, Sapar, has recalled production of various meat products, including pork tongues in jelly, because of Listeria contamination. It is not thought that these products are widely distributed in the UK. However, if anyone does have any meat product sold under the brand names 'Sapar', 'Antoine Auge', or 'Delice de Suzon', they should not be consumed. No other products are believed to be affected."
The Department of Health will continue to keep in touch with the French authorities.