Waitrose has pulled a packaged coleslaw side salad from its shelves because it contains potentially deadly listeria bacteria.
Customers who purchased the own brand Crisp & Creamy Deli Style Coleslaw Side Salad have been warned not to consume it amid fears it could make them severely ill.
Listeriosis symptoms are similar to the flu and can include vomiting, diarrhoea and a high temperature, but some cases can lead to severe complications including meningitis.
The 220g coleslaw product – with use-by dates of 20/21/22/23 July – should be returned to the upmarket supermarket chain for a full refund.
Waitrose said no other products are known to be affected by the bug.
It warned customers in a notice online and in stores: "Waitrose is recalling the product as a precaution due to the potential presence of listeria.
"The product must not be consumed, but returned to Waitrose for a full refund.
"We apologise for the inconvenience caused."
Waitrose and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have both issued alerts to warn customers.
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The FSA wrote on its website: "Waitrose is recalling Crisp & Creamy Deli Style Coleslaw Side Salad because listeria has been found in the product.
"No other Waitrose products are known to be affected.
"Symptoms caused by this organism can be similar to flu and include high temperature, muscle ache or pain, chills, feeling or being sick and diarrhoea.
"However, in rare cases, the infection can be more severe, causing serious complications, such as meningitis.
"Some people are more vulnerable to listeria infections, including those over 65 years of age, pregnant women and their unborn babies, babies less than one month old and people with weakened immune systems."
It added: "Waitrose is recalling the above product. Point of sale notices will be displayed in all stores that are selling this product. These notices explain to customers why the products are being recalled and tell them what to do if they have bought the product."
A Waitrose spokesman said: "We recalled Waitrose Crisp & Creamy Deli Style Coleslaw Side Salad (220g) with the use by dates 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd July.
"This was a precaution due to the possible presence of listeria, which was found during routine testing by the supplier.
"We’re sorry to our customers for this and are asking them, if they’ve bought the product, to return it for a refund."
Listeria bacteria causes an illness called listeriosis.
Although cases of foodborne illness from listeria are rare, they can involve serious symptoms and even death in certain groups of people, the FSA says.
Those at greater risk include people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborn babies and the elderly.
Listeria is of most concern in chilled ready-to-eat foods such as cooked sliced meats, cooked shellfish, blue veined and mould-ripened soft cheeses, and pre-prepared sandwiches and salads.
To avoid listeria, the FSA says people should keep ready-to-eat foods away from raw foods to avoid cross-contamination, keep chilled ready-to-eat foods cold in a fridge set to 5C or below, eat ready-to-eat foods before their use-by date and within four hours of being removed from the fridge.
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