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Dutch cucumbers possibly involved in UK E. coli outbreak

An outbreak of E. coli O157 in the United Kingdom - that affected 36 people - has been linked to a fast food product containing imported cucumbers. After investigations into the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli outbreak this past year, a certain fast food meal sold at one restaurant chain came into focus. It was made with contaminated cucumbers from the Netherlands. People fell sick from early to mid-August 2020 and investigations into the infections began that month.

Researchers from the International Journal of Infectious Diseases said that their findings provide further evidence that salad items are an important vehicle of STEC outbreaks.

A total of 29 confirmed cases reported eating either cucumber in or out of the home or the fast food product which contained cucumber, chicken, lettuce and sauce. No patients said they ate another similar product at the same chain, which contained a different chicken type, bacon, lettuce, tomato and a different sauce, but no cucumber.

Ingredients from the suspected fast food product were tested two days prior to the cucumber batch being discarded but no STEC contamination was detected. Eleven samples from fast-food outlets and one retailer reported by a patient including shredded lettuce, cucumber and breaded/pre-cooked chicken tested negative for E. coli O157. As did loose supermarket peppers from the home of one patient.

According to foodsafetynews.com¸ most implicated restaurants from the chain were supplied by one distribution center in the Midlands. The cucumber given to the restaurants via this site was grown in the Netherlands by a corporation of 11 growers and distributed to the UK and other European nations. Fifteen countries reported they had not seen recent increases in related E. coli strains.


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