11/03/2014 08:29 GMT | Updated 11/03/2014 08:59 GMT

Woman Blames 'Dodgy' Tesco Rotisserie Chicken For Causing Her IVF To Fail

A woman has claimed her IVF attempt to have a baby failed because she got food poisoning from a dodgy Tesco chicken.

Lisa Fessey thought her emotional four-year struggle was at an end when doctors successfully transferred two embryos into her womb using IVF treatment in June 2012.

But then the 41-year-old from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was left severely ill after eating a pre-cooked chicken from the supermarket giant - and tragically, days later was told the fertility procedure had failed.


Travel agent Mrs Fessey and her husband believe the campylobacter gastroenteritis caused by eating the rotisserie chicken was responsible for her failure to become pregnant.

The couple had been hopeful the IVF would succeed - as a previous round had resulted in a pregnancy although she sadly miscarried. And they fear that after having now used both her IVF cycles available free on the NHS they have lost their last chance to start a family - as they cannot afford to pay for private fertility treatment.


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Mrs Fessey said: "It is just devastating for us, we had suffered years of heartache and frustration and believed we would finally be able to start a family of our own.

"It was such a crushing blow for us as realistically it was our last chance. We are no longer entitled to IVF on the NHS and we cannot afford to pay for it privately, so we hoped Tesco would help but they turned us down.”

After contacting London law firm Slater & Gordon, Mrs Fessey issued a civil claim against Tesco, from whose Barnsley store her husband bought the whole chicken.

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The supermarket has admitted liability in relation to the food poisoning last summer but have not admitted that this resulted in the loss of the embryos.

Mrs Fessey began to feel unwell after eating the chicken on July 2, two days after the IVF treatment, and soon after suffered severe diarrhoea.

A couple of days later her GP sent her to Barnsley District General Hospital where she was placed on a drip for two nights. Days later she was told she had lost the embryos.

She said: “When they told me the embryos had failed I was heartbroken, I knew it was my last chance as we simply cannot afford to do it privately and at 41 my chance of success are plummeting every day.”

An environmental health officer from Barnsley council visited the chicken counter at the Tesco store in Wombwell and noted concerns about the use of concentrated sanitiser.

Once she knew the cause of her illness Mrs Fessey decided to write to Tesco and in the hope that the supermarket giant would cover the cost of a new cycle of IVF.

She said: “I was surprised when I received a reply denying any responsibility for the food poisoning and decided the only way forward would be to take legal action.”

Jane Cooper, personal injury lawyer at Slater & Gordon, said: “Their expectations of a pregnancy running to full term were cruelly destroyed by Tesco’s simple failure to follow straightforward food hygiene requirements.

“They can take some comfort though from Tesco’s final acceptance of their wrongdoing and we are now focused on getting them the best compensation settlement to allow them a chance of fulfilling their dream of having a child.”

Tesco maintained providing safe food is an “absolute priority”, and that it has thorough cleaning routines in stores. Its spokesman added the company was working to resolve her complaint.