An outbreak of human listeriosis in England between 2010 and 2012 associated with the consumption of pork pies

A. Awofisayo-Okuyelu*, N. Arunachalam, Tim Dallman, K. A. Grant, Heather Aird, James McLauchlin, A. Painset, Corinne Amar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


An outbreak of listeriosis in England affecting 14 people between 2010 and 2012 and linked to the consumption of pork pies was investigated. All 14 individuals were older than 55 years, 12 were men, and 10 reported the presence of an underlying condition. All were resident in or had visited either of two English regions and were infected with the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes. In interviews with 12 patients, 9 reported eating pork pies, and individuals that consumed pork pies were significantly more likely to be infected with an outbreak strain than were individuals with sporadic cases of listeriosis infections in England from 2010 to 2012. Pork pies were purchased from seven retailers in South Yorkshire or the East Midlands, and the outbreak strain was recovered from pork pies supplied by only the producer in South Yorkshire. The outbreak strain was also recovered from samples of finished product and from environmental samples collected from the manufacturer. The likely source of contamination was environmental sites within the manufacturing environment, and the contamination was associated with the process of adding gelatin to the pies after cooking. Inadequate temperature control and poor hygienic practices at one of the retailers were also identified as possible contributory factors allowing growth of the pathogen. Following improvements in manufacturing practices and implementation of additional control measures at the retailers' premises, L. monocytogenes was not recovered from subsequent food and environmental samples, and the outbreak strain was not detected in further individuals with listeriosis in England.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-740
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Food Protection
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Food poisoning outbreak
  • Foodborne disease
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Listeriosis
  • Pork pies


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