North Devon has been named as one of the places in the country affected by a salmonella food poisoning outbreak.
Nine people in the UK including one in North Devon are thought to have caught the disease after consuming Dr Zak’s Barn Farmed Liquid Egg White bottles.
Symptoms include nausea and vomiting and diarrhoea. The disease can be dangerous to young children, the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.
Public Health England (PHE) has been investigating and has confirmed five of the nine drank the product after tests showed the same strain of the bacteria was found in some batches of the product.
The other locations are Hull (three cases), Bournemouth (two), Sunderland, Knowsley and Uttlesford (one each).
An urgent recall of some batches of the product was issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) after salmonella was detected, with others recalled as a precautionary measure.
The FSA said anyone who has bought the product with batch numbers 18180BN2A, 18163BN2A, 18180BN2B, 18228BN2A and 18163BN2A should not drink it, but return it to the store where it was purchased for a full refund.
The egg white product is popular among people on a calorie-controlled diet or trying to eat healthily and may also be used by people for bodybuilding purposes because of its high protein content.
Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust told the Gazette it did not generally have a lot to do with treating people with salmonella, with most cases dealt with by GPs.
But the trust said it might culture the samples in the labs at North Devon District Hospital before sending them to PHE for tests that would link cases to outbreaks.
Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service for Public Health England, said: “Most of those affected have now recovered. However, Salmonella can cause a serious infection in those with weakened immune systems or in vulnerable groups including babies, the elderly or pregnant women.
“There are simple steps to stop its spread, including cooking food thoroughly, washing fruit and vegetables and washing your hands after using the bathroom.
“Anyone who is concerned about symptoms should contact their GP or out-of-hours service in the first instance.”
Tina Potter, head of incidents at the Food Standards Agency added: “If you have bought this product please check the details on our recall notices. We’re aware the affected batches could have a use-by date up to February 2019.
“If you’re storing the product from the recalled batches at home, do not eat the product, but return it to the store where it was purchased for a full refund.”