The Good Food Chain, a UK manufacturer of products for the foodservice channel, confirmed it has gone into liquidation despite being cleared by an investigation into a recent listeria outbreak at a number of local hospitals.
Some 125 full-time employees have lost their jobs as a result.
The company, based in Stone, Staffordshire, in the English Midlands, has ceased trading, it confirmed in a statement on its website.
This is despite the UK regulator, The Food Standards Agency, stating that the company was not the source of the outbreak and could now resume production. It said that “the business has been verified as meeting food safety legislation and as following best practice for manufacturing, cleaning and environmental standards”.
However, the company, founded in 1996, which made products such as pre-packed sandwiches under the Good & Proper brand, said that with production having been continuously suspended since 5 June the impact has been too great for the business to remain viable.
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Owner and founder Martyn Corfield said: “I was absolutely devastated to hear that people had died after contracting listeriosis and have been thinking constantly about all those affected and their families over the last few weeks.
“We have been co-operating very closely with the investigating authorities, and while Wednesday’s confirmation that the Good Food Chain was not the source of the outbreak was welcome, it ultimately came too late in the day for us to get the business back on to a sustainable footing.
“I feel desperately sorry for our brilliant and hardworking staff who, through no fault of their own, now find themselves out of work. I would like to thank them for everything they have done for the Good Food Chain, and particularly for their loyalty and patience over the last few weeks.”
The outbreak saw eight hospitals reporting cases of listeria linked to pre-packed sandwiches and salads eaten by patients. Three people died.
It is the second time in a week that large-scale job losses have been announced in the food industry in Staffordshire. Last Tuesday (25 June), Kerry Foods revealed the closure of a facility in Burton-upon-Trent with the likely elimination of 900 staff.