Why has Spar issued a recall for Tikka Chicken chunks?

Chunks may contain bacteria that causes potentially fatal food poisoning

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Spar has issued a recall for Tikka Chicken Chunks, warning that it may contain listeria - which causes horrible food poisoning - and in very serious cases can even prove fatal.

The affected products are the 140g packs with a 'use by' date of February 24. Clearly this 'use by' date was a while ago, but Spar has said that because the packs were labelled as 'suitable for home freezing', there could still be packs lurking at the back of people's freezers.

Packs of the chunks were found to contain listeria monocytogenes - a bacteria that causes food poisoning. In the vast majority of people it causes vomiting and diarrhoea, but in very rare cases it can spread to other parts of the body. If it spreads to the brain it can even kill.

It is particularly dangerous for vulnerable groups - such as those over the age of 60, those with reduced immunity and newborn babies. Pregnant women are also at risk, because the bacteria can seriously affect the health of their unborn baby.

Spar has urged people not to eat the product, but to return it to their nearest store for a refund or replacement. Given the serious nature of the illness, it's vital that you check the freezer to ensure you're not unwittingly storing any.

Listeria recalls

Given how dangerous Listeria can be, companies have strict procedures in place to ensure products are free from the bacteria before they leave the factory. However, there have been an alarming number of recalls since the beginning of the year.

On 12 January Fromagerie Beillevaire UK recalled a batch of its 'Brie de Meaux à la Truffe' with a 'use by' date of 22 January 2016 because high levels of listeria were found.

Then in February this year Sainsbury's recalled three Camembert cheese products with expiry dates up to 6 March. It said it was issuing the recall as a precaution after low levels of listeria were found in a small number of packs.

A few days later Asda and Co-op issued recalls of Camembert products too, because there was a risk they could contain listeria monocytogenes.

On 1 March, Tesco recalled a number of flavoured butters because of a listeria risk. They included 100g of Tesco Chocolate Chip & Maple Syrup Butter, Tesco Red Chilli & Lemon Butter, Tesco Roast Garlic & Herb Butter, and Tesco Three Peppercorn Butter.

They added that three types of butter that had been offered as freebies at the meat and fish counters were also affected - notably Roast Garlic & Herb Butter Discs, Peppercorn Butter Discs, and Chilli Butter Discs.

Last week, Scotch Smoked Salmon Co recalled two smoked salmon products because of a listeria contamination risk. They were the 100g, 200g and 400g packs of Smoked Scottish Salmon and Smoked Scotch Salmon with an expiry date of 14 March.

It means the in the first few months of the year we have had almost as many listeria-related recalls as we did in the whole of 2015.

Given the frequency of these recalls, it's worth following the Food Standards Agency on Twitter - so you are aware when any food is recalled - for any reason - and you can keep your family safe.

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