HOSPITALS were warned about the listeria risk from ready-made sandwiches in 2012.
The British Sandwich Association said the elderly and very sick should be given pre-packaged sarnies only on a doctor’s say-so.
3 Food from the Good Food Chain has been linked to the listeria outbreakCredit: The Good Food Chain
The Food Standards Agency backed the warning before relaxing its advice in 2016.
The U-turn is likely to come under scrutiny in the Government-backed probe into the deaths.
Five people died after contracting the bug — two of them at the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
The Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust each saw one death.
Several other trusts also had diagnosed listeria cases linked to the outbreak. It has been blamed on grub from the Good Food Chain, which supplied 43 trusts and one private hospital.
The BSA’s original warning was written by director Jim Winship.
He said the association was recommending that sandwiches and salads should not be served to vulnerable patients at “high-risk” from listeriosis “without the prior agreement of the clinicians responsible”.
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The FSA backed the advice, but said it was right to change its mind three years ago.
It said: “The FSA listeriosis guidance, published in 2016, is robust in setting out good practice controls that hospitals can put in place to manage listeria risks.
“We have revisited this guidance in light of the outbreak and have confirmed that it remains current.”
3 BSA director Jim Winship wrote the original warning which recommended that sandwiches and salads weren’t served to vulnerable patientsCredit: BBC
3 Listeria is a bacteria that can cause an infection if ingested – most people will barely notice the illness but some people are high risk, such as pregnant women, babies and the elderlyCredit: Getty
What is Listeria and why is it dangerous?