The recent E.coli outbreak associated with imported mixed salad leaves appears to be subsiding, with no new reported cases in the past week. To date, a total of 161 cases of E.coli infections have been reported with more than 60 cases requiring hospital treatment and 2 fatalities.
Although Public Health England indicated that the risk of E.coli 0157 is strongly associated with eating mixed salad leaves, the exact source of the outbreak is still yet to be identified.
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.
- 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 do not hesitate to contact us