Pork From UK Grocery Giant Tesco Linked To UK Hepatitis E Outbreak

A Tesco has been revealed as the "supermarket X" associated with a major food safety scare in the U.K. Public concern began to rise after Public Health England published research stating that recent hepatitis E outbreaks in the U.K. were associated with pork sausages and ham from an unnamed major supermarket chain.

Neither Public Health England nor the Food Standards Agency would reveal the name of the chain, but after speculation from The Guardian and the Independent, it was revealed to HuffPost UK that Tesco — Britain's largest retailer — was the culprit.

Public Health England was careful to note that the finding did not imply any blame on the part of Tesco, and the meat sold by the chain was not directly tested. Rather, consumption of pork products from one particular Tesco was found to be a common factor among 60 people who had contracted the hepatitis E virus. The health officials told HuffPost UK that they believe public risk for the virus to be low.

A recent op-ed in The Guardian raised concern over food safety in the U.K., noting that over 90 percent of British pigs have been infected with the hepatitis E virus and that U.K. scientists have found genetic material related to the illness in 10 percent of retail sausages.

If contracted, the hepatitis E virus can cause serious liver disease, resulting in fever, reduced appetite, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, itching, and death.

This is not the first time Tesco has been in trouble — the British supermarket chain was slammed for launching a line of "farm fresh" foods from nonexistent farms.