26 Jun 2015

Company admits part in listeria outbreak

5:57 pm on 26 June 2015

Meat processor Bay Cuisine has admitted in court it sold contaminated meat to Hawke's Bay Hospital - contributing to a deadly food poisoning outbreak.

In 2012, a hospital investigation revealed samples of ready-to-eat meats supplied by the company led to listeria claiming the life of 68-year-old Patricia Hutchinson and contributing to the death of an 81-year-old woman.

Bay Cuisine and two employees pleaded guilty in the Napier District Court today to a total of 10 charges, including selling contaminated food, suppressing test results and omitting to provide information to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

However, it was not charged in connection with the listeria deaths or infections.

In a statement, Bay Cuisine said it did not knowingly sell any listeria-contaminated cooked meats.

It said some products tested positive for the bug but the results were at a level described by the Ministry for Primary Industries as marginal.

The company said it could have acted more appropriately in communicating with the hospital about the test results.

Bay Cuisine said it stopped making cooked sliced meats in 2012 and had implemented a number of changes.

It is expected to be sentenced next month in the Napier District Court.