Supermarket sandwiches linked to E. coli outbreak


Food manufacturers are recalling several types of pre-packed sandwiches, wraps and salads sold in major supermarkets because of possible contamination with E. coli.

E. coli bacteria have not been detected in the products but are being recalled as a precaution. It is understood these are products containing salad leaves.

Retailers involved include Aldi, Asda, Co-op and Morrisons.

Some 211 people are known to currently be affected by E. coli – up from 113 last week.

At least 67 people have been admitted to hospital, the UK Health Security Agency says.

Experts had previously said a recent outbreak of E. coli was linked to food that was widely and readily available.

One of the suppliers involved, Greencore Group, has recalled 45 different products so far.

Other manufacturers are also preparing to announce separate recalls.

Andrew Opie at the British Retail Consortium said: “Following investigations by the Food Standards Agency and UK Health Security Agency regulators, a number of manufacturers in the supply chain are taking precautionary measures and issuing a recall notice for a small number of products.

“Retailers affected are taking swift action to remove these products from sale and are working closely with the Food Standards Agency to take any further action needed to minimise risk to their customers.”

The full list of Greencore products can be found here.

How do you treat E. coli and what are the symptoms?

E. coli are a diverse group of bacteria that normally live in human and animal intestines.

Some types are harmless but others can make people seriously ill.

Tests have shown that the type in this outbreak is called E.coli STEC O145.

It produces a Shiga toxin – which can attack the lining of the gut.

Symptoms can include diarrhoea that can be bloody, stomach cramps, fever and vomiting.

It usually takes a few days from being infected for symptoms to show.

Most people recover well, but some – such as young children or people with underlying health conditions – can become very unwell.

There is no specific treatment for E. coli infection. People who are infected can usually be cared for at home and most will get better without medical treatment.

It Is important to drink plenty of fluids, as diarrhoea can lead to dehydration.

A small number may go on to develop a serious complications including haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) which can damage the kidneys.

People should seek medical help if worried.

There are things people can do to reduce the risk of infection.

Regularly wash your hands with warm water and soap — alcohol gels do not kill all bugs that cause diarrhoeal illness.

Wash fruit and vegetables and cook food properly.

If you have symptoms, you should not prepare food for others and avoid visiting people in hospitals or care homes.

People should not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

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