A woman who became ‘very unwell’ with salmonella after eating five bags of pork scratchings has launched legal action to see if the illness triggered her subsequent heart failure.  

After 179 people suffered diarrhoea vomiting and fever, Mr Porky products made by Tayto Group at their Lancashire factory were recalled in September.

A number were also reported to have been hospitalised, including Susan Williamson, 64, from Blackhall Colliery, County Durham.

She fell ill with salmonella infantis, and underwent several follow-up tests. Later, she was diagnosed with heart failure. 

Mrs Williamson has asked Irwin Mitchell’s public health specialists to investigate her symptoms and determine if her heart attack is due to salmonella.  

She said, “The last few months have been an absolute disaster and it doesn’t seem like it will be ending anytime soon,”

“When I became ill after eating the pork screeds, I thought it might make I a bit sicker and more yellow for a few weeks.

I never imagined that it would lead directly to salmonella. I was still suffering from symptoms two months later. I’m still very sick and have been told that my condition will continue for a while. It’s been a very difficult time for me and my family.

Mr Porky products, made by Tayto Group at a factory in Lancashire, were recalled in September after 179 people were reported to have suffered diarrhoea, vomiting and fever following consumption (stock image)

After 179 people suffered diarrhoea and vomiting, Mr Porky products were recalled by Tayto Group at a Lancashire factory (stock image).

Susan Williamson, who became 'very unwell' with salmonella after eating five bags of pork scratchings, has launched legal action to see if the illness triggered her subsequent heart failure

Susan Williamson, who became ‘very unwell’ with salmonella after eating five bags of pork scratchings, has launched legal action to see if the illness triggered her subsequent heart failure

What to do if you get Salmonella food poisoning?

Salmonella bacteria infected food does not usually cause a spoiled appearance, smell, or taste. 

Salmonella infections can affect anyone, but children, seniors, and those with underlying medical conditions are more susceptible to serious illness. 

Anyone who has eaten any of these recalled products or developed symptoms of salmonella poisoning should seek medical care.  

Salmonella infection symptoms may mimic other illnesses, which can lead to misdiagnosis.

Diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and fever can all be experienced within 12 to 72 hours of eating contaminated foods. Healthy adults can be sick for up to seven days.   

Saheer Gaharibia, Head of the Gastrointestinal Pathogens Unit in PHE’s National Infection Service said: ‘Salmonella generally causes mild illnesses, although vulnerable groups like children younger than five years and the elderly may experience more severe illness and may need to be admitted.

Salmonella infections can cause diarrhoea and stomach cramps, as well as vomiting and fever. 

“Anyone with symptoms should first contact their GP or an out-of-hours service if they are concerned.”


Mrs Williamson bought five bags of pork scratchings in a multipack on August 3. She ate them all over the next few days. 

On August 8, she fell ill and began to have diarrhoea as well as hallucinations. 

Mrs Williamson contacted her GP as her condition worsened over the next days. On August 12, she was transported by ambulance to the hospital and admitted.

She was put on a drip for the night and discharged the following morning. Two days later she was readmitted back to hospital. She was diagnosed as having salmonella infantis on August 17, and discharged on Aug 23.

Mrs Williamson then visited her GP to complain of breathing problems, nausea, fatigue, and shaking.

On September 17, she was admitted to hospital and given a chest radiograph. An ECG was performed, and it was determined that she had suffered heart failure. She was then readmitted to the hospital.

Drs. Williamson have informed her that she will require ongoing care and a procedure to repair her heart.

Paul, her husband, was due to take her on two holidays in their motorhome, but she became ill.

Mrs Williamson is still experiencing tiredness and complications due to the salmonella.

She added, “It’s also worrying to think there could be more people out here suffering like I am, so we deserve to have answers as to why this happened.”

“I know that an investigation cannot change what I’m going though, but it can hopefully help to prevent it happening in the future.”

Eight people have said that they have become ill after eating Mr Porky products and are now instructing Irwin Mitchell.

Sebastian Thornton, 37 years old, is from Malton in North Yorkshire. He said he had eaten Mr Porky products as part a Thai dish. However, he became ill shortly thereafter with fever, diarrhoea sweats, and lethargy on July 1.

He also experienced shakes, and was also passing blood. His illness led to the self-employed professional joiner being admitted to hospital on July 4. Two days later, he was discharged with antibiotics. 

“By the time I heard of the recall, I had already eaten pork scratchings. “I felt awful within a few weeks,” he stated.

“I ended up being admitted to hospital, and I was discharged. I was then told that I had salmonella infantis. It was a shock. My illness had a lasting impact on me for six weeks. I was unable to work during that time.

Mr Porky products are made by Tayto Group (stock image)

Tayto Group manufactures Mr Porky products (stock photo)

“It’s very worrying to think about how many other people have been affected by salmonella. It’s important to conduct an investigation to prevent this from happening again.

The legal firm helps people affected by illness outbreaks like the well-known outbreaks in salmonella at Real China and the Newcastle Spice Festival as well the 2018 Chapman and Sons salmonella outbreak at Blackhall Colliery.

Sebastian Thornton said he ate Mr Porky products as part of a Thai dish and shortly afterwards he fell ill on July 1 with fever, diarrhoea, sweats, and lethargy

Sebastian Thornton stated that he ate Mr Porky products while eating Thai food. Shortly thereafter, he became ill with fever, diarrhoea sweats, and lethargy on July 1.

Clare Pearson, a specialist in public health at Irwin Mitchell, represented Susan. She said that Susan was one of many people who have been diagnosed after eating pork scratchings.

Salmonella is not only a serious bacterial disease, but it can also cause long-lasting and severe health problems that can even lead to death.

“Salmonella can cause cardiovascular problems in some cases. We are currently investigating the circumstances of Susan’s illness and whether her salmonella infection is to blame.

“While we can’t make Susan or the other people we represent better, we’re determined get them the answers and support they need throughout this process.

‘If anyone else has fallen ill after eating pork scratchings, we would love to hear from them. This will help us in our investigations.

“It is also important that, if any issues are discovered during our investigations, the necessary lessons are learned to ensure that food hygiene standards are maintained in the future.

Public Health England and Food Standards Agency advised people to avoid eating packets with a best before date of February 2022 at the time of the reports.

Tayto Group spokesperson said that they take safety very seriously. This is why they quickly halted production and issued an recall.

“Since then we have conducted a thorough investigation with the relevant agencies and implemented changes before restarting production.

“We have been in touch direct with a lot of consumers and are working closely together to resolve their concerns. 

“We are sorry to hear that some people are still feeling unwell. We wish them a speedy recovery.”