Salmonella :: UK recalls fresh basil due to Salmonella contamination

The Health Protection Agency is carrying out an investigation into a rise in the number of human cases of Salmonella Senftenberg.

Twenty six cases have been reported to the Agency from England and Wales since the beginning of April 2007 which compares to fewer than ten cases in the same time period in 2006 and 2005.

This is the same serotype of Salmonella that has been identified in one sample of fresh basil for which the Food Standards Agency has issued a food alert today. Molecular typing has demonstrated that at least some of the strains of Salmonella Senftenberg from patients are the same as that from the basil.

Professor John Threlfall, who is leading the investigation, said: ?As part of an on-going national study being carried out by the Health Protection Agency and the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS), our Food, Water and Environmental Laboratories have tested a variety of fresh herbs taken from retail premises. Our study showed that six samples of imported fresh herbs were found to contain Salmonella, of which five were fresh basil.

?It should be emphasised that at this stage we cannot confirm that there is a definite link between the rise in the number of human cases of Salmonella Senftenberg and fresh basil but we will be carrying out further investigations?.

The reports of people suffering from Salmonella Senftenberg have been reported from all areas across the country and most cases are between the ages of 15 and 64 years of age.

Salmonella Senftenberg is a relatively uncommon form of Salmonella in England and Wales and causes a similar illness to other forms of Salmonella infection, so symptoms can include diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever.

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