One Gwent person affected by water cress E.coli outbreak
9:01am Saturday 14th September 2013 in News
AN over-55 from Gwent is among18 people taken ill following an outbreak of E.coli that led to Sainsbury’s recalling six products that contain water cress.
The strain of the infection causes symptoms ranging from mild gastroenteritis to severe bloody diarrhoea, with blood poisoning and kidney failure in the most serious cases.
In total, four people affected are from Wales, 13 from England and one from Scotland, with Public Health England confirming some have been treated in hospital.
A spokeswoman for Public Health Wales said yesterday (Friday) that all cases here are among over-55s, with two from west Wales and two from south Wales- one of these coming from Gwent.
While they all appear linked to the consumption of the water cress, the spokeswoman said investigations are ongoing with it possible they could have caught E.coli from a friend or family member. It is also unclear if these people purchased water cress themselves and if so, from what store.
Lines affected include watercress leaves, organic watercress and salads, which have now been taken off the shelves of Sainsbury’s stores including those in Blackwood, Cwmbran and Newport.
Problems came to light yesterday (Friday) when the Food Standards Agency issued a recall notice as a precautionary measure.
It advised anyone who has bought water cress from Sainsbury’s since August 1 not to eat it.
A Sainsbury's spokeswoman said "The Food Standards Agency has made us aware that a small number of people have fallen ill with a bacterial infection, and that one of their lines of investigation is watercress bought at Sainsbury's since August 1.
"Customer safety and the quality of our food are our overriding concern and so, although no traces of contamination has been found in our products, we have as a precautionary measure withdrawn six lines of pre-packed salad containing watercress from the supplier concerned. “
The spokeswoman added that the company is urgently testing all similar products but have so far found no indication of contamination. It has apologised for any inconvenience and is offering a full refund on returned products.
PHE said the outbreak was mainly affecting people over 50.
Interviews with those affected "revealed a strong link to the consumption of watercress’’, with most saying they had bought it at Sainsbury's, a spokesman said.
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