THE FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY (FSA) has said it is exploring the source of the cooked chicken that has been linked to the death of five patients at eight NHS Trusts.

A strain of listeria was found to be present in pre-packed chicken sandwiches supplied by the Good Food Chain to hospitals that has been linked to nine cases across the country.

The source of the outbreak has been established as North Country Cooked Meats and its distributor North Country Cooked Foods.

Both businesses voluntarily ceased production while the FSA investigation took place

Now the FSA says the Good Food Chain is no longer part of the investigation, and it is focusing on identifying the source of the listeria outbreaks.

The Good Food Chain is free to resume trading, the FSA added, though a spokesman for the firm said it would be considering whether it was viable to do so.

Colin Sulivan, COO at the FSA said: “This is a complex investigation, but we have worked to swiftly identify and remove from the food chain the products linked to these hospital cases. 

“Our investigations are now focused on where the outbreak strain originated from.”