Salads linked to illness outbreak

20 Mar 2013

An outbreak of a parasite that affected around 300 people probably originated in ready-to-eat bagged salads, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has said.

The HPA launched an investigation into an outbreak of Cryptosporidium and uncovered "strong evidence" of a link between people who fell ill in England and Scotland and the salads.

A sample of those who became unwell discovered 46% had eaten mixed leaf bagged salad from Morrisons and 11% ate spinach from Asda.

Most of those affected suffered a mild to moderate form of the illness and there were no deaths.

The HPA's Dr Stephen Morton said: "This outbreak was fortunately short-lived but it was important to see if we could find the source. Our findings suggest that eating mixed leaf bagged salad was the most likely cause of illness."

The Food Standards Agency, which also investigated the outbreak and could not determine where the point of contamination occurred, said bagged salads sold in supermarkets were often sourced from the same suppliers, often with common production lines packing products for several retailers at the same time.

Morrisons said it was not the source of the Cryptosporidium outbreak. "We have received no complaints of illness and no Morrisons products have tested positive for Cryptosporidia," a spokesman for the supermarket said.

"Furthermore, Morrisons shares the same supply chain used for its bagged salads with several other retailers, meaning they would also have been affected by this outbreak."

Copyright Press Association 2013

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