Worried health officials are investigating an E.Coli 0157 strain as 151 people have fallen ill across the country and two people have died.
Public Health England are advising that a small number of wholesalers stop adding imported rocket leaves to their mixed salad bags as a precaution after salad leaves imported from Southern Europe are feared responsible.
Dr Isabel Oliver, director of PHE’s field epidemiology service, encourages the following:
“We continue to stress the importance of good hand and food hygiene practices at all times. We urge people to remove any loose soil before storing vegetables and thoroughly wash all vegetables (including salads) that will be eaten raw unless they have been pre-prepared and are specifically labelled ‘ready to eat’. These measures may reduce the risk of infection from any E.coli contaminated vegetables, fruit and salad but will not eliminate any risk of infection completely. PHE is working alongside the Food Standards Agency and will provide any further necessary public health advice as investigations continue.”
“It’s also vital to wash hands thoroughly using soap and water after using the toilet, before and after handling food and after contact with any animals and pets, including farm animals. Small children should also be supervised when washing their hands.”
BBC advises on how to avoid an E. coli infection
- Wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet, before and after handling food, and after handling animals
- Remove any loose soil before storing vegetables and salads
- Wash all vegetables and fruits that will be eaten raw
- Store and prepare raw meat and unwashed vegetables away from ready-to-eat foods
- Do not prepare raw vegetables with utensils that have also been used for raw meat
- Cook all minced meat products, such as burgers and meatballs, thoroughly
- People who have been ill should not prepare food for others for at least 48 hours after they have recovered