E.coli O157 confirmed cases rise to 259 in UK outbreak linked to Lettuce and salad leaves?8th December 2022
According to Food Safety News yesterday the 7th December (A daily American newsletter) the number of confirmed cases of E.coli O157 in the most recent UK outbreak has risen to 259. (Link below to this article).
The majority of those affected appear to be adults. Hopefully there are no cases of Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) a form of kidney failure, or anyone has died. For those who suffered due to this outbreak they will know how painful and uncomfortable it is to suffer from this bacterium.
This article suggests the outbreak may be linked to UK produced lettuce and salad leaves but this is still yet to be confirmed. If this is so, then it opens up the possibility of the land that the lettuce was grown on being contaminated with E.coli O157 by cattle sheep or goats. Alternatively, there is a possibility that the lettuce was contaminated after it was grown by some other means.
The geographical spread of the bacterium in this outbreak may indicate that a large company or companies distributed and or sold the lettuce, such as a supermarket or restaurant.
If for example the lettuce was served as part of a meal in a restaurant, then it should be the restaurant and or their supplier’s responsibility to ensure that the lettuce was washed and free from contamination. At that point the lettuce becomes a ready to eat food.
Whilst the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) continue to tell consumers that they should wash fruit and vegetables prior to eating them and cook meat thoroughly etc as part of their advice in helping to prevent the bacterium, which is good, they should also be ensuring that the Food Business Operators accept their responsibility. It is not fair to continually look to point towards the consumer.
Also, in relation to this outbreak the FSA & UKHSA appear to have failed until today’s newspaper stories failed to mention this outbreak since it started in August this year and thereby not reiterating the advice they give to consumers in order to help prevent more cases.
The Chief Executive of the FSA mentioned this outbreak at an open board meeting this Wednesday 7th December yet the Food safety News previously reported on the 23rdSeptember 2022 that there were 192 confirmed cases at that time.
Could more case have been prevented if this information was put in the public domain sooner.
Link to one news article below about this outbreak:
It should be noted that the UKHSA data up until week ending 20th November 2022 are still on the high side for this time of the year and there may still be further cases to be confirmed in relation to this outbreak.
On the 6th December I put in a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) regarding this outbreak. (The day before Food Safety News article of 7th December). Should you wish to see the FOI, request it is on this website.
I was informed previously on the 27th October this year by the Enquiries Team, Parliamentary and Public Accountability Team (PPAT), UK Health Security Agency that I could only obtain this information with a FOI.
Whilst Food Safety News have done some very good journalism in relation to this outbreak I believe that if they are entitled to this information, so should the sufferers of this outbreak be as well as the general public.
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