Mum investigating if salmonella from pork scratchings caused heart failure

Mum-of-two Susan Williamson, 64, has instructed lawyers to investigate whether the salmonella she caught from a pack of pork scratchings was the cause of her heart failure at a County Durham hospital

A mum-of-two has started legal action to find out if pork scratchings linked to a salmonella outbreak led to her heart failure.

The ‘Mr Porky’ products were recalled in August after 179 people were reported to have suffered diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.

Susan Williamson, 64, ended up in hospital with salmonella infantis. After a number of follow-up tests, she was diagnosed with heart failure.

She has now instructed public health experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether her heart condition was linked to her illness.

She said: “The last few months have been an absolute nightmare. It doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon.

“When I fell ill after eating the pork scratchings, I thought it might make me a bit sick and off colour for a few days.

“Never did I ever imagine that it would lead to salmonella and I would still be suffering two months on.”

She added: “I’m still very unwell now and have been told I’ll need medical care for a long time.”

Susan, of Blackhall Colliery, Co Durham, bought a multipack of five bags of pork scratchings on Aug. 3. She fell ill on Aug. 8 and started to suffer with sickness and diarrhoea and her symptoms also included hallucinations.

On Sept. 17, she attended hospital where she was given a chest X-ray. An ECG established that she had suffered heart failure and she was readmitted to hospital.

She had been due to go on holiday with husband Paul but two motorhome trips were cancelled because of her illness.

The Food Standards Agency recalled packs of Mr Porky, Jay’s and The Real Pork Crackling Company, all Tayto Group’s products, which expire before February, 2022.

The cases of salmonella were reported between Sept. 2020 and Aug this year, the agency said. The illness usually causes fever, diarrhoea, and abdominal cramps. Symptoms typically resolve themselves.

But they can be more severe and lead to hospitalisation, especially in the very young and those with weakened immune systems.

Irwin Mitchell is representing eight people who fell ill after eating the snacks. Clare Pearson, their specialist public health lawyer, said: “Susan is among those diagnosed with Salmonella Infantis and other illnesses after consuming pork scratchings.

“Not only is salmonella a serious bacterial infection, it can often lead to long-lasting health problems, and even death.

“Salmonella has been known to have the ability to lead to cardiovascular complications. We’re now investigating whether Susan’s heart failure is linked to her salmonella infection.”

Snack giant Tayto said they took safety of their products ‘very seriously’ and swiftly halted production, issuing a product recall. “Since then, with the relevant agencies, we have conducted a detailed investigation and implemented changes before restarting production,” said a spokesman.

“We have been in touch with a number of consumers directly and are working closely with them to resolve their concerns. We are very sorry to hear that a number of people are still feeling unwell and we wish them a speedy recovery.”