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Court: No, you can't sell kebabs with salmonella

February 8, 2019

The Swabian producer had said the tainted meat posed no health risk because restaurants would thoroughly cook it before serving. The court in southern Germany struck down a lower court ruling.

Employee making shish kebab at Royal Döner in Winterthur, Switzerland
Image: picture-alliance/KEYSTONE/G. Bally

A state administrative court in the Bavarian city of Ansbach overturned a lower court ruling on Friday and prohibited an industrial shish kebab manufacturer from selling meat found to have traces of salmonella to restaurants.

The court was not convinced by the Swabian company's argument that its frozen shish kebabs did not pose a health risk since they were only sold to restaurants and packaged with directions to thoroughly cook the product before serving.

The company contended that by cooking the meat any trace of bacteria would be killed. The company also sought to avoid having to refund or destroy any tainted meat.

Salmonella bacteria
Salmonella looks interesting under a microscope but you don't want to eat it as it is a common cause of foodborne diseaseImage: NIAID

Salmonella found in 1 to 3 percent of production

Lawyers told the court that random in-house samplings regularly found traces of salmonella in 1 to 3 percent of production.

Health officials argued that the company should be ordered to destroy meat found to contain traces of the bacteria and take back any that had already been sold.

The court cited EU health guidelines regulating microbiological criteria for food in its decision and agreed that the company must remove all products containing traces of salmonella from the market. Moreover, the company was ordered to ensure that such tainted meat did not go to market in the first place by codifying sufficient testing in its hygiene concept.

The company will have one month to file an appeal with the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.

Kebab Machine

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