Salmonella And E. Coli Bacteria Found
In Packets Of Shelled Nuts
of Article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/156004.php
A recent study carried out by the
Health Protection Agency and LACORS (Local Authorities Co-ordinators of
Regulatory Services) has revealed the presence of Salmonella and E. coli bacteria
in a small number of samples of ready-to-eat shelled nuts.
Consumption of nuts has gone up, reflecting a growing preference for snacks
that are both healthy and convenient. The study was therefore undertaken to
explore the microbiological safety of a selection of these products
including brazil nuts, cashews and peanuts.
Between October 2008 and March 2009, councils collected 2,866 samples of
nuts of different varieties from randomly selected retail premises such as
supermarkets and health food shops. Testing of the nuts showed that at
least 99% were of a satisfactory or acceptable quality in microbiological
terms. However 0.1% of samples were found to be unsafe due to the presence
of Salmonella, which is unacceptable in ready-to-eat foods. E. coli, the
presence of which indicates poor hygiene was found in a total of 0.8% of
the samples; and in 0.03% of samples the level of E. coli was assessed as
being too high and therefore unsatisfactory in microbiological terms.
Dr Jim McLauchlin, Director of the Health Protection Agency's Food, Water
& Environmental Microbiology Services, said:
"Our study shows that the vast majority of ready-to-eat nuts tested
were safe to eat; however, a very small number were contaminated with
unacceptable levels of Salmonella. Ready-to-eat foods contaminated with
even low levels of Salmonella can cause illness. The Food Standards Agency
was immediately informed of affected batches; these were recalled and full
LACORS Chairman, Councillor Geoffrey Theobald OBE, said:
"Councils across the country are supporting businesses to help ensure
that the food we eat is safe. Studies like this are a powerful means of
councils working together to protect their communities by responding to
emerging trends and potential risks.
The full report can be found on the Health Protection Agency's website at
the following link: http://www.hpa.org.uk/foodsampling
1. Samples of nuts of different varieties were collected from randomly
selected retail premises from lists held by Local Authority Environmental
Health Departments (EHDs).
2. Samples tested were either of a single type of nut or of 'mixes' with a
combination of two or more of the single types. Single types of nuts
sampled were almonds, brazils, cashews, hazels, macadamia, peanuts, pecans,
pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts and other nuts (chestnuts and soya nuts).
3. Most of the nuts sampled were whole, though some were halved/broken.
4. Of the single types of nuts sampled, Brazils were the most contaminated
nut - 0.4% of samples were contaminated by Salmonella and 2.1% were
contaminated by E. coli.
Health Protection Agency