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The roasted meat of the La Mechá brand, which has caused the largest outbreak of listeriosis known not only in Andalusia, but throughout Spain, was contaminated, at least, since the end of June. This is what the analyzes ordered by the Ministry of Health and Families of the lots intervened after it was confirmed that this product manufactured by the Magrudis company was the focus of infection.
As EL MUNDO de Andalucía has been able to know, about half a hundred batches of Mecha meat have been analyzed and practically all, with the exception of an isolated case, have tested positive for listeria. And some of them, as confirmed by sources of research promoted by health authorities, were cooked and packaged at the end of June.
This means that the contamination by the bacteria, Listeria monocytogene , occurred at least a month and a half before the Andalusian Board activated the health alert, a decision adopted by the Minister of Health and Families, Jesús Aguirre, the last August 15.
This data coincides with the testimony of one of the most severely affected by listeriosis, Teresa Reyes, who suffered an abortion on August 2 at 18 weeks gestation because of the bacteria. Reyes says it was between the end of June and the beginning of July when he ingested contaminated meat.
The Board, in fact, counts the cases of infection by listeriosis since August 5, which is when it records the first outbreak , although already in the second half of July it had evidence of an abnormal rebound in infections.
What is not yet known is at what time in the meat production process and at what exact location in the factory that contamination occurred. That is precisely what is being investigated at the moment.
From the baking to the packaging, all the hypotheses are now open at the expense of the result of the examination to which the ship of the Polígono El Pino de Sevilla is undergoing in which Magrudis had its production center, closed by order of the Autonomous Administration from on day 14, one day before communicating the alert.
The technicians began collecting samples at the factory yesterday of all their facilities and the material and machinery used in the production of meat, although the results will not be known until next week.
Before, there could be the results of the analyzes that have been carried out on the rest of the products manufactured by Magrudis and that were also immobilized on Wednesday at the request of the Ministry of Health.
The objective is to rule out the risk that the bacteria have invaded not only batches of shredded meat, but other foods of the same brand such as loin with sherry and paprika or pork rinds.
And this despite the fact that the Andalusian health authorities have endeavored to rule out the risk of what is called cross contamination , that is, that the bacteria has passed to other foods from, for example, a knife used with the meatloaf which, in turn, has been contaminated.
"Forget about cross-contamination," said Dr. José Miguel Cisneros, spokesman for the technical cabinet created by the Ministry of Health to manage the listeriosis outbreak yesterday. But the Andalusian Board itself has ordered additional analysis of the other Magrudis products and slicers and other tools used with the meat.
What is certain is that, according to the health authorities, all the cases detected have been caused by the consumption of the mecha meat.
They are, until 20 hours on day 21, 161 people affected by listeriosis in Andalusia, a figure that rises to 175 throughout the country.
In the community, according to the latest data provided by the Board, 82 people remain (29 more than the previous day) and of these, 28 are pregnant women. In addition, there are three patients in the Intensive Care Unit.
With regard to the geographical distribution of the outbreak, the bulk of cases continue to be concentrated in the province of Seville, with 131, which represents 81.3% of the total. Fifteen cases have appeared in Huelva, seven in Cádiz; in Malaga, four; and in Granada, another four.
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