A Hessian sausage factory recently made a name for itself with salami contaminated with bacteria. The food scandal is not an isolated case
A total of three deaths and around 40 illnesses have been reported in connection with sausage products contaminated with listeria from the manufacturer Wilke Waldecker Fleisch- und Wurstwaren GmbH Co. KG from the Hessian Twistetal reported. Since 2014, the pathogens have been detected in a total of 37 traps, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), mostly in people in hospitals and nursing homes.
Listeriosis is a disease caused by listeria (Listeria monocytogenes) in tainted foods such as poultry, meat, sausage, fish, milk and cheese or pre-cut salads. The bacteria survive even in shrink-wrapped foods. For weakened, sick people or pregnant women who have ingested many bacteria, the disease can be fatal.
Normally, the germs are killed off by heat, explains an expert in an interview with NDR. In this case also Bruhwurst was concerned, which was even heated up before. In any case, the germs can spread more quickly if hygiene is inadequate. If the hygiene regulations with appropriate controls were kept, one should be able to enjoy the products actually without hesitation.
In the Wilke case, however, the hygienic deficiencies in production and storage were recognized too late and reported much too late. The sausage was sold as cold cuts to restaurants, hospitals and catering companies. It was sold as a brand under a different name in Ikea restaurants in sausage counters of Metro and Kaufland, delivered to hospitals and crèches, and presumably also offered in ready-made meals. One day after the public recall, it was distributed to patients in a rehabilitation clinic in Koln.
What is remarkable is the slowness with which the authorities reacted after the first suspicions were aroused: for example, the Hessian Ministry of the Environment is said to have already announced on 12. August 2019 learned of the suspected listeria by the Robert Koch Institute. On 16. September, the laboratory results were available. Two days later, the ministry informed the competent government prasidium Kassel about it. And instead of initiating a recall of the goods at the latest, the ministry waited for two more weeks.
According to the FAZ, the Kassel public prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation against the manager, who suddenly became untraceable, on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter. In the meantime, the company has filed for bankruptcy. After all, the 200 or so employees received their last paychecks for September.
Bacteria infected milk withdrawn from the market
The authorities reacted somewhat more quickly when Aldi and Rewe had to withdraw milk products from the market at the beginning of October 2019 because the milk was contaminated with Aeromonas hydrophila, rod-shaped bacteria that survive in submerged and brackish water at temperatures of 1 to 45°C. The bacteria, which only die when heated strongly, can lead to gastrointestinal diseases in children and adults.
If the Deutsche Milchkontor (DMK) is to be believed, the cause was a defective seal at a plant in Everswinkel, North Rhine-Westphalia. Immediately after the problem was discovered during internal cleaning checks, production was stopped, the defective machine part was replaced and additional cleaning was carried out.
The infected milk is a rather "Clear volume", explained DMK spokesman Oliver Bartelt to Foodwatch. The recall of the goods was made only for reasons of preventive consumer protection.
(Supplement: As has recently become known, infant milk products from Nestle and Novalac are contaminated with aromatic mineralol compounds). This is the result of several independent laboratory tests. The chemical compounds are considered carcinogenic and mutagenic. In a petition, Foodwatch calls on the above-mentioned companies to immediately remove the affected products from the shelves and to inform consumers accordingly.)
Rotten doner meat
The processing of slaughterhouse waste as raw material is a risk-free but highly profitable business, wrote food expert Thilo Bode in his book published in 2007 "Fobbed off".
Doner-style minced meat kebabs are the best-seller in German snack bars. Unfortunately, rotten meat is also often foisted on the doner. In order to save costs, fraudulent manufacturers are always coming up with new ideas. Sometimes dog food is processed into doner, sometimes unsearchable meat is used as "high quality" delivered.
In other cases, the expiration dates are exceeded. The list of scandals with Doner minced meat in the years between 2004 and 2007 alone is long. The more often meat is put through the grinder, the easier it is to process bad product in it, says Joachim Kuntzer of the Stuttgart Chemical Investigation Office.
In 2006, a doner factory in Baden-Wurttemberg had processed three tons of slaughterhouse waste together with spoiled meat into spieves. Especially rotten meat is difficult to detect when it is mixed in small doses, explains the food expert. This is probably why only those cases where there is a concrete suspicion come to light. Often expensive raw materials are replaced by water and fat or extended, because they bring more weight on the scale.
Savings are also made on the cost of refrigeration. This is what police officers found in the summer of 2018 near Husum 1.600 kilograms of doner kebabs in the interior of a completely overloaded van without sufficient deep-freezing. In part, the unhygienic meat spiebe had already been delivered. The 13 donors confiscated from Husum snack bars were disposed of together with the meat from the transporter in a rendering plant.
In August 2018, police stopped a truck carrying 24 tons of doner meat that had been stored far too warmly. And in the spring of 2019, police in Marktredwitz, France, had discovered a van with 600 kilos of tainted doner meat.