Salad may have been source of tummy bug

An OUTBREAK of Cryptosporidium that affected around 300 people probably originated in ready-to-eat bagged salads, an investigation has found.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said there was “strong evidence” of an association between those who fell ill in Scotland and England and the salads, which were likely to have been labelled ready-to eat.

A sample of 25 per cent of those who became unwell found 46 per cent recalled eating mixed leaf bagged salad from the Morrisons supermarket chain – an “extremely high” rate as not everyone could remember which particular products they bought, while 11 per cent ate spinach from the Asda chain, the HPA said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The outbreak was short-lived, with most of those affected suffering a mild to moderate form of the illness. There were no deaths.

The Cryptosporidium parasite causes the disease cryptosporidiosis, of which the most common symptom is diarrhoea. Potential sources include contaminated water or food and swimming in contaminated water.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said its own investigation into the outbreak was inconclusive as to where the point of contamination occurred.

But it said consumers could still have confidence in the ready-to-eat label.

It added that bagged salads sold in supermarkets were often sourced from the same suppliers for most leaf types, often with common production lines.