This comes as we investigate a rise in cases of a particular strain of Salmonella Typhimurium which have been linked to lamb and mutton. We first saw an increase in cases of this particular type of salmonella in July 2017. A number of control measures were put into place which led to a significant decline in cases at the end of that year. A total of 118 cases were reported up until May 2018.
Since June 2018, a further 165 cases have been reported (up to 19 October), which led us to put control measures in place. This hasn't led to the same decline in cases as in 2017 and so we are now reminding the public about how to cook and handle raw meat.
Colin Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer at the Food Standards Agency said: 'We are advising care when preparing all meat, including lamb and mutton, to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with Salmonella Typhimurium. Our advice is to purchase food as normal but to take care when storing, handling and cooking raw meat.
'People should wash their hands after touching raw meat, avoid contaminating other food in the kitchen by storing it separately in the fridge and using different chopping boards and knives, and ensure that meat, particularly diced and minced lamb, is cooked properly.'
Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service, PHE said: 'The likely cause of the increased numbers of this specific strain of Salmonella Typhimurium is considered to be meat or cross-contamination with meat from affected sheep. People can be infected with Salmonella Typhimurium in a number of ways such as not cooking their meat properly, not washing hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, or through cross-contamination with other food, surfaces and utensils in the kitchen.'
Details of the outbreak
Prior to July 2017 only 2 cases of this strain (single nucleotide polymorphism) had been detected in England.
Between July 2017 and November 2017, the first increase in this strain was observed with 95 cases reported in England, Scotland and Wales. Control measures were implemented which resulted in a decline in cases.
Numbers of cases were at low levels from December 2017 to June 2018 (23 cases during this period).
In June 2018, the numbers of cases increased again and since June 2018 165 cases have been reported.