E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Contaminated Lettuce, Over 200 Affected

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E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Contaminated Lettuce, Over 200 Affected

Three companies have proactively removed sandwiches and wraps from supermarket shelves in recent weeks as a precaution. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) confirmed that while the precise cause of contamination remains under investigation, they are “confident” that lettuce is the source of the outbreak.

How Can Lettuce Get Contaminated with E. Coli?

Lettuce can become contaminated with E. coli through several pathways. According to Professor Jim Monaghan, a crop science expert at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, E. coli typically resides in the intestines of warm-blooded animals. However, pathogenic strains are present in approximately 10-15% of dairy herds, meaning some manure may be contaminated.

In cases of direct contamination, infected manure can come into contact with lettuce leaves during the growing process. Indirect contamination can occur if the bacteria infiltrate the soil or water used for irrigation, subsequently affecting the lettuce.

Product Recalls and Health Impact

The FSA has urged consumers to heed recalls and exercise caution. The agency’s investigation is ongoing to determine the contamination’s origin, including whether the affected lettuce was domestically grown or imported.

As of Tuesday, June 18, 211 E. coli cases have been confirmed, with at least 67 individuals requiring hospital treatment. The situation underscores the importance of proper food handling and hygiene practices.

Recommendations for Consumers

Experts emphasize the importance of thoroughly washing all fruits and vegetables to mitigate the risk of foodborne illnesses. The FSA continues to monitor the situation and will provide updates as more information becomes available.

For further information on food safety and updates on the E. coli outbreak, visit the Food Standards Agency website or follow official news outlets

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