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Dutch recall meat after DNA testing reveals bacteria source

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch health authorities ordered a major recall of processed meats from grocery stores on Friday after saying they had linked a spate of food poisonings over the past two years to a likely single source.

Spokesman Jan Brouwer de Koning of the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said experts had been testing the DNA of listeria bacteria involved in cases that affected 20 people in all, killing three of them and causing one woman to miscarry.

That enabled the RIVM to conclude that the poisonings were likely coming from a single source. The country’s Food & Wares authority then identified the Offerman processing plant in the city of Aalsmeer as the likely source, prompting the recall.

In a statement on its website, Offerman said it had recalled meats that had been distributed to supermarkets and distributors including Aldi, Bidfood, Jumbo, Sligro and Versunie.

“Offerman is taking, in consultation with the Dutch Food & Wares Authority, all possible additional measures to guarantee food safety,” it said.

Offerman, a subsidiary of Belgium’s Ter Beke, said it had halted all meat-cutting and packaging activities in Aalsmeer.

“The activities will be taken over by other factories in the group,” it said.

Ter Beke shares were suspended after falling 8.9% to 112 euros on Friday. The company said in a statement it was cooperating with the investigation and that it was too early to estimate the possible financial impact.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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