An investigation has been launched after an outbreak of salmonella left two people in hospital.
Local residents in East Durham and Hartlepool areas are being advised not to eat any cold pre-cooked meats and savouries bought on or before February 19 from Chapman and Sons butchers in Blackhall Colliery.
Public Health England say the source of the outbreak is not yet known, but bosses at the butchers are co-operating fully with the investigation.
The precautionary advice has been issued as the investigation begins into the possible source of an outbreak of salmonella infection affecting local residents.
Salmonella bacteria can cause food poisoning and symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, and sometimes vomiting and fever.
Public Health England North East’s health protection team is working closely with the environmental health and public health teams from Durham County Council after an increase in reports of salmonella infection in the area.
To date, eight confirmed and two suspected cases of salmonella have been reported in the last two weeks in adults living in the Horden/Blackhall Colliery/Hesleden area. Two of the cases are currently receiving treatment in hospital.
Consultant in health protection and chair of the outbreak control team, Dr Deb Wilson, said: “The source of this outbreak is not yet known. However, several of the affected people are known to have eaten cooked meat products and savouries from Chapman and Sons butchers in Blackhall Colliery.
“Although our investigation is at a very early stage, as a precautionary measure we are advising anyone who has bought cooked meats or savouries from Chapman and Sons butchers on or before 19 February 2018, and still has them in their fridge or freezer, not to eat them and to throw them out immediately.
“The owners and staff of Chapman and Sons butchers are co-operating fully with the investigation and have agreed to discard ready to eat foods from their premises while the investigation continues.
“The business has also agreed to carry out a deep clean of their premises, and reinforce good hygiene practices.
“Anyone who has eaten cooked meats and savouries bought since the beginning of February from Chapman and Son butchers and currently has diarrhoea should contact their GP in the usual way.”