A food supplier linked to a listeria outbreak has gone into liquidation, days after being told it could restart production.
All 125 employees at The Good Food Chain based in Stone, Staffordshire, will lose their jobs, the firm said.
The Food Standards Agency confirmed on Wednesday the company was no longer part of its probe into the outbreak.
The impact of suspending production during the inquiry was “too great for the business to remain viable” it said.
“Ultimately [Wednesday’s news] came too late in the day for us to get the business back on to a sustainable footing,” business owner Martyn Corfield said.
The company had voluntarily ceased manufacturing on 5 June as part of the investigation following the deaths of five hospital patients after eating contaminated pre-packed sandwiches and salads.
The FSA said the firm was “no longer part of the investigation into the source of the outbreak”.
Mr Corfield, who founded the company in 1996, said he was “devastated” by the news of the listeria outbreak and now felt “desperately sorry” for the company’s “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,” he said.
As well as the 125 employees, a total of 40 agency staff were “let go” by the firm at the start of June when production was suspended.
The liquidation will be handled by practitioners, Currie Young.
Eight hospitals in seven NHS Trusts have reported cases of listeria linked to pre-packed sandwiches and salads eaten by patients.
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