Salmonella Found In Fresh Basil At UK Supermarkets

Some batches of fresh basil on sale at three UK supermarket retailers may be contaminated with salmonella, according to the Food Standards Agency .
The FSA warned customers that affected fresh packets of the herb were on the shelves at Sainsbury’s, Somerfield and Asda and added that eating the products could lead to diarrhoea and sickness and that all products must be returned.
The warning on the agency’s website said that much of the basil was close to, or already past, its “best before” and “display until” dates.
“The affected basil is also labelled as wash before use. However, it’s possible that people may still have some affected batches at home,” the statement added.
“For example, they may have used the basil to make fresh pesto sauce or used it as an ingredient in other uncooked foods . Also some people may have frozen the herb .”
Sainsbury’s and Somerfield responded by saying they have withdrawn all their potentially affected basil stocks with a “best before” date up to and including May 28, while Asda told the agency that the only affected batches sold through its stores are those with a “display until” date up to and including May 18.
Sainsbury’s took out national newspaper advertisements at the weekend to highlight the product recall.
The salmonella contamination only came to light through a fresh herb study conducted by the Health Protection Agency and the local council advisory body, LACORS.
The FSA is conducting further investigations into the possible source of the problem in the supply chain to ensure no further contamination has occurred.
A spokesman said the herb could have been contaminated by the bacteria where it was grown in Israel due to contact with birds or their droppings.

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