Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Health

#54: Attack of the Salad Sprouts


Sprouts contaminated with E. coli killed 50 people and sickened more than 4,000.

fenugreeksprouts.jpg
Fenugreek sprouts | DeathByBokeh via Flickr

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Last summer the particularly virulent 0104:H4 strain of E. coli bacteria sickened at least 4,075 people, primarily in Europe, according to the World Health Organization. Of those, 908 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening kidney complication, and 50 died, making the 2011 outbreak the most lethal bout of foodborne illness on record.

It took European authorities 47 days after the first reports of HUS to identify the culprit: a shipment of fenugreek seeds, used to grow sprouts, from an Egyptian producer. Since sprouts are seldom eaten solo, they are especially difficult to pinpoint as a contamination source, says University of Wisconsin food safety scientist Kathy Glass. In fact officials initially pinned the outbreak on cucumbers, sprouts’ frequent salad companions—a mistake that may have prolonged the disease’s spread.


In Related News The U.S. suffered its deadliest foodborne illness outbreak since 1924: As of November, Listeria-laden cantaloupes had sickened 139 people and killed 29.

The U.S. suffered its deadliest foodborne illness outbreak since 1924: As of November, Listeria-laden cantaloupes had sickened 139 people and killed 29.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In