A number of chilled and ready to eat foods have been recalled from UK shops due to the presence of a disease-causing bacteria linked to meningitis.

Bread Spread is recalling a number of products due to the presence of the bacteria, known as Listeria monocytogenes.

The bacteria can survive and even grow under refrigeration and can cause Listeriosis which can last up to several weeks depending on the severity.

Symptoms include fever, vomiting and headaches, with some cases even resulting in convulsions.

In rare cases, the infection can lead to meningitis.

All Bread Spread Ready to Eat Food products with a best before date up to and including May 18 have been recalled, as have all Orbital Foods Ready to Eat Food products and Perfect Bite Ready to Eat Food products.

A spokesman for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued a “do not eat” warning to shoppers who have bought the affected products.

The FSA spokesman said: “Bread Spread are recalling the above products. Point of sale notices will be displayed where the products were sold.

“These notices explain to customers why the products are being recalled and tell them what to do if they have bought the products.

“If you have bought the above products do not eat them. Instead, return the products to where they were bought for a full refund. For further information breadspread2501@gmail.com

“Symptoms caused by this organism can be similar to flu and include high temperature, muscle ache or pain, chills, feeling or being sick and diarrhoea.

“However, in rare cases, the infection can be more severe, causing serious complications, such as meningitis.

“Some people are more vulnerable to listeria infections, including those over 65 years of age, pregnant women and their unborn babies, babies less than one month old and people with weakened immune systems.”

What is a product recall?

If there is a problem with a food product that means it should not be sold, then it might be 'withdrawn' (taken off the shelves) or 'recalled' (when customers are asked to return the product).

The FSA issues Product Withdrawal Information Notices and Product Recall Information Notices to let consumers and local authorities know about problems associated with food.

In some cases, a 'Food Alert for Action' is issued.

This provides local authorities with details of specific actions to be taken on behalf of consumers.