UK: Health snack seeds
withdrawn from sale after report into salmonella and E. coli
Source of Article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinkadvice/4837000/Health-snack-seeds-withdrawn-from-sale-after-report-into-salmonella-and-E.coli.html
Tens of thousands of packets of
edible seeds were withdrawn from supermarkets and health food shops after a
survey found “unacceptable” levels of salmonella and E. coli.
Last Updated: 8:39AM GMT 26 Feb 2009
The ready-to-eat seeds, such as sesame and sunflower,
were removed from shelves last year in one of the biggest product recalls for
a decade Photo: GETTY
ready-to-eat seeds, such as sesame and sunflower, were removed from shelves
last year in one of the biggest product recalls for a decade.
One in 50
packs of the popular health snack was found to be contaminated with dangerous
levels of the diseases, which can lead to serious illness for many and death
for the vulnerable.
The study was
carried out by the Health Protection Agency in conjunction with local
authority group Lacors after outbreaks of
salmonella linked to seeds in other countries over recent years, according to
a report in The Independent.
called on food manufacturers and retailers to improve hygiene during
harvesting and drying of seeds.
health officers from 317 local authorities collected 3,735 packets of
ready-to-eat seeds from 3,390 supermarkets, health food shops, convenience
stores and market stalls between October 2007 and March 2008.
samples – 0.6 per cent – were contaminated with salmonella and E. coli was
detected at unsatisfactory levels in 55 samples, or 1.5 per cent, putting the
proportion of dangerous food-borne disease at 2.1 per cent of the total.
had the highest proportion of salmonella – 8.5 per cent – but the bug was
also found in sesame, linseed, sunflower, alfalfa and mixed seeds. E. coli
was found in melon, pumpkin, sesame, hemp, poppy, linseed, sunflower and
It is thought
such cases of contamination come when seeds are left outside to dry in the
sun in developing countries or because of poor hand-washing.
As a result
of the study, 10 retailers and wholesalers withdrew packets of seeds at the
end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008.