Chicken product blamed for three-state listeria outbreak

Shredded chicken sold to restaurants, cafés and hospitals is being blamed for a listeria outbreak across three states following an investigation by Queensland authorities.

M&J Chickens’ easy serve breast fillet shredded chicken was the probable cause of five listeria cases in Queensland, three cases in NSW and one in Victoria, Queensland Health said.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said the listeria strain found in the chicken samples was the same as the strain isolated from patients in Queensland.

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“This cluster includes four cases that were probably acquired at the Mater Hospital, with the fifth case possibly acquired at Redcliffe Hospital,” Dr Gerrard said in an alert on Monday.

The source of infection for the other two clusters was still under investigation, he said.

Hospitals have been ordered not to use the affected batch of commercial quantity chicken, which is sold in 2kg packs, and Gerrard urged people and businesses to stop using the product.

An official food recall was likely, he said.

Easy serve breast fillet shredded chicken from M&J Chickens’ has been detected as the probable source of a nationwide listeria cluster. Credit: M&J Chickens’

The batch code is A5497 and is marked as “chilled by 16/10/2023”.

AAP contacted the company, which declined to comment.

Listeriosis symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and neck stiffness.

Symptoms can appear within 24 hours of eating contaminated food, but they can take up to two months to develop.

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