Basil from Israel linked to UK Salmonella outbreak
Posted: November 24th, 2008 - 1:54pm by Doug Powell
I sorta figured out how to cook with fresh herbs this year. Fresh basil on tomatoes, loads of sage on poultry, rosemary and garlic in everything.
But fresh herbs are, like other fresh things, fresh, and therein lies the risk – anything that comes into contact has the potential to contaminate. And Amy and I watched squirrels and snails drawn to our fresh herbs, with their squirrel and snail shit.
The UK Telegraph reports today that basil grown in Israel is thought to have been the cause of 32 cases of salmonella in people in England and Wales last year, government scientists said.
The Health Protection Agency and the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services sampled 3,760 packets of fresh ready to eat herbs between May and October last year and found a small proportion were contaminated with unsafe levels of Salmonella Senftenberg which can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever.
Jim McLauchlin, Director of the Health Protection Agency's Food, Water & Environmental Microbiology Services, said,
"Our survey found six herb types to be contaminated with ten different types of salmonella. The basil samples that were found to be contaminated with S. Senftenberg were all grown in Israel. Investigations undertaken at the time of these samples testing positive identified thirty-two human cases of S. Senftenberg in individuals throughout England and Wales, and it is likely that these cases were linked to consumption of fresh basil.”