Fail: sprout information from Germany
Posted: June 15th, 2012 - 12:14pm
From the files of the entirely unimaginative, German risk assessors have produced a leaflet for consumers with tips to avoid EHEC.
The leaflet, “Consumer Tips: Protection against Infections with Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC)” was produced by Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, BfR.
“In view of the major EHEC outbreak in early summer 2011, the BfR once again draws attention to hygiene measures which must be observed in the cultivation and preparation of sprouts, since contaminated sprouts were in all likelihood the cause of the numerous infections at the time. Independently of the past EHEC outbreak, the BfR had already earlier drawn attention to the risk of contracting disease resulting from the consumption of raw sprouts.
“When handling seeds and raw sprouts, consumers should be particularly meticulous in taking hygiene measures in order to minimise the risk of an infection. If possible, sprouts should also be sufficiently heated by boiling or frying or at least thoroughly washed before they are eaten. Pathogens cannot be removed completely by light heating or washing of the sprouts. For this reason, persons with a weak immune system, i.e. infants, pregnant women, the elderly and persons suffering from illness should, to be on the safe side, only eat sprouts after they have been adequately heated.”
With 53 dead and some 4,400 sickened, mostly in Germany, it was a, uh, major outbreak. And it was most likely contaminated fenugreek seed imported from Egypt that was the underlying cause. Washing isn’t going to do much and cross-contamination is always a risk. Also not much help for those who buy sandwiches or salads in Europe (and Australia) where sprouts are ubiquitous.
Take a brochure for lunch next time and be better educated.