It has now been announced that the recent E.coli outbreak has resulted in two deaths and affected over 150 people in the UK.
The infection can cause bloody diarrhoea and abdominal pain. People usually notice symptoms three to four days after they have been infected, but symptoms can start any time between one and 14 days afterwards and last for up to two weeks.
The Food Standards Agency is continuing to work closely with Public Health England and local authorities, with investigations still ongoing. Public Health England says the strain involved is likely to be imported, possibly from the Mediterranean area.
The outbreak has been linked to eating mixed salad leaves, including rocket leaves, however a specific food source has not been confirmed at this stage.
Over 150 people have been effected, of which 144 are in England with a particular focus within the South West.
How can you reduce the risk of getting infected with E.coli?
- Personal hygiene – practice good hand washing procedures, especially after visiting the toilet, after touching animals, handling raw meats etc.
- Ensure that the wash hand basin is equipped with antibacterial hand soap, a supply of both hot and cold running water and a means to dry hands.
- Thorough cleaning of fruit and vegetables is critical to ensure that any loose soil and germs are removed.
- A good segregation system needs to be put in place to ensure that raw and cooked/ready to eat food items are stored separately.
- Ensure that food items, especially meat, are thoroughly cooked.
In light of the current and ongoing investigations, CSC are advising the following control measure be put in place to limit exposure to E.coli O157:
- Ensure that all food handlers practice good personal hygiene practices with specific focus placed on hand washing practices.
- All vegetables, including salad leaves, intended to be eaten raw should be thoroughly washed. The use of chlorine wash can also be used to facilitate in the cleaning process.
- Alternatively, the use of mixed salad leaves (including rocket leaves) must be removed from the menu until the investigation into the E.coli O157 has been concluded with the source identified.
If you require any additional support regarding the prevention of E.coli O157, please contact us.