11,200 sick; German norovirus outbreak linked to Chinese frozen strawberries declared over

Authorities in Germany have declared an outbreak of norovirus among schoolchildren, first noted in late September, officially over after an apparent failure by catering operators to prepare frozen strawberries properly prior to their consumption.

The strawberries in question had been imported from China and were reportedly supplied by a catering company – said to be a distribitor to foodservice giant Sodexo – in ten different locations across Germany.

The outbreak led to more than 11,000 people, most of them schoolchildren, falling ill as a result of acute gastroenteritis in Berlin, Brandenberg, Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.

Sources in the fresh produce trade indicated that lessons learned from the recent E coli outbreak in northern Germany had helped minimise the impact on the industry as a whole, with communication said to have been more coordinated and timed to reduce the spread of rumour and conjecture.

Comforting words for the 11,200 kids and their families who were barfing.

China’s quality watchdog maintains no disease-causing viruses were found on Chinese frozen strawberries.