Irish meat processor Dawn Farm Foods has voluntarily withdrawn a number of its products after suggestions that it might be linked to an outbreak of salmonella in the UK and Ireland.

Approximately 80 cases of salmonella agona, a rare strain of the disease, have been confirmed throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a spokesperson for the UK's Health Protection Agency (HPA) told just-food.

The Foods Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has confirmed that laboratory tests have uncovered a possible link with meat products manufactured by Dawn Foods.

FSAI is leading the inter-agency investigation into the outbreak. It has posted that Dawn Farm Foods supplied contaminated beef to the Subway sandwich chain.

As a precautionary measure, batches of the Philly Style Steak and Chicken Fajita sandwiches have been removed from Subway restaurants nationwide and selected lines of cooked beef, cooked chicken and cooked bacon products have been withdrawn from sale.

However, a spokesperson for the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) told just-food that there is no hard evidence linking the Dawn Farm Foods to the outbreak.

"I would emphasise that these products have been withdrawn as a precautionary measure. There is no proof that they are the source of the outbreak," the FSA spokesperson commented. "We are still working with all agencies to establish a common link."

Indeed, the HPA told just-food: "The complex nature of the supply chain can mean that outbreaks like this remain untraceable."