413 sick with Salmonella after UK Street Spice festival

Herbs and spices seem particularly prone to contamination, especially with Salmonella.

This time, uncooked curry leaves in a chutney left more than 400 people who ate at a street food festival with diarrhea and vomiting or salmonella poisoning, health officials have found.

The leaves were contaminated with several different bacteria, experts found, which led to 29 confirmed cases of salmonella at the Street Spice Curry leavesfestival in Newcastle in February and March.

Why is the public only hearing about it now?

Oh, right, it’s the UK.

An investigation by Public Health England (PHE) and Newcastle city council found 25 of the 29 cases had developed a strain of salmonella never found in people or food in Britain before.

According to an official report, further laboratory analysis suggested other organisms may also have caused illness including E coli and shigella.

Some of the 413 affected were found to have more than one of these infections at the same time.

No one will face prosecution because there was seen to be a lack of clear advice about the dangers of using raw curry leaves in recipes, and in general hygiene levels at the three-day event were good.

Dr Kirsty Foster, chair of the outbreak control team and consultant in health protection with PHE, said, “However, herbs and spices are known to be potential sources of salmonella and other organisms, and have been reported in scientific literature as the source of infection in a number of outbreaks across the country.

“But it is unclear whether there is widespread understanding among food handlers and the public about the potential for infection when using these products raw.

“That is why we have reported our findings to the Food Standards Agency, recommending that advice is developed for the food industry and the public about the use of raw curry leaves.

“While this is being developed, our advice to the public is to cook curry leaves thoroughly if they are to be used in recipes and to be aware of the risk of infection if using them raw.”

Once again, HPA ignores the risk of cross contamination.