Norovirus warning: vomiting bug '˜found in supermarket fruit and veg'

The winter vomitiing bug norovirus may be contained in fruit and vegetables sold in supermarkets, food experts have warned.

Researchers conducted a survey that found that one in every 20 lettuces harboured the virus, which causes people to suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea.

And one in every 27 punnets of raspberries contained the bug which can be deadly in the very young and the elderly.

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The researchers said their findings highlighted serious hygiene issues with food suppliers and retailers.

Vegetables and fruits.Vegetables and fruits.
Vegetables and fruits.

They told the paper: “Norovirus is the commonest cause of gastrointestinal disease in the UK causing millions of cases annually.

“One should not expect to find a norovirus in one’s lettuce or raspberry.

“When the virus is detected it is clear that guidance [on food hygiene] is not being adhered to and that in consequence the pathogen is entering the food supply chain.”

The scientists tested 568 lettuces, most of which were grown in the UK, and found the bug in 30 of them. Out of the 310 samples of fresh raspberries tested, seven contained the virus and 10 our of 274 frozen raspberries also did.

Last month, dozens of Scots were hospitalised and wards shut down following a recent spike in winter diarrhoea and vomiting bug cases.

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