0370 1500 100

E-Coli Found in Pre-Washed Salads

Claim compensation if you have been affected


A warning has been issued that salmonella or E.coli could be in bags of ready-to-eat salad leaves, a potentially lethal food-poisoning bacteria. Experts claim that not enough is being done to ensure pre-washed salad leaves are free from E.coli O157 or salmonella. The warnings come after more than 30 people in England and Wales developed salmonella poisoning earlier this year after eating fresh basil sold in supermarkets.

A third of those affected by the herb, which was grown in Israel, were hospitalised, and the warnings follow a series of large outbreaks in the US - one outbreak of E.coli in spinach killed three people.

And although outbreaks associated with prepared and bagged salads are relatively rare in the UK - there have been eight notable outbreaks since the 1990s, mainly associated with lettuce - they can affect hundreds of people. E.coli O157, salmonella and norovirus have all been associated with ready-to-eat packets of salad and lettuce as well other fruit and vegetables, including melons, raspberries and tomatoes.

The warnings from microbiologists coincide with new data showing that spending on fresh produce rose in the UK by 5.2% to pounds 7.6bn over the past year. It is thought that fresh vegetables, fruit and salads become contaminated with bacteria because they are grown in contaminated soils. In an attempt to cut costs, it is common for some manufacturers to process their produce in the field, further exposing the food to bacteria, and there are concerns that the practice of washing fresh produce in chlorine, to sanitise it, is not effective to kill off the harmful bacteria.

Recent supermarket alerts within the UK include:

June 13, 2007 - Morrison's supermarket recalls four types of its own-brand ready-to-eat salad after routine testing finds salmonella contamination

May 25, 2007 - The Food Standards Agency warns people not to eat fresh packets of basil from Sainsbury's, Asda and Somerfield because of possible salmonella contamination

April 27, 2007 - Morrison's supermarket recalls 280g bags of its own-brand mixed leafy salad with red chard after routine tests reveal salmonella contamination

April 20, 2007 - Bags of Florette 100% lambs lettuce, made by Soleco UK, are recalled amid concerns they are contaminated with salmonella

January 11, 2007 - Soleco UK recalls packs of watercress products after a salmonella scare. The bags were on sale at branches of Budgens, Co-op, and a number of convenience stores.

Irwin Mitchell Solicitors have recently been instructed to act for a client who became contaminated with salmonella after consuming a pre-washed salad.

If you or a loved one has suffered food poisoning due to poor hygiene standards, our personal injury solicitors could help you claim compensation. Visit our Food Poisoning Compensation Claims page for more information.