Public Health England (PHE) have warned consumers to thoroughly wash mixed salad leaves, after an outbreak of E coli food poisoning which has claimed the lives of two people in the UK, and infected a further 149.
Those affected were known to have eaten mixed salad leaves, including rocket prior to falling ill.
Symptoms can include bloody diarrhoea, stomach cramps and occasionally fever. People usually notice signs of the illness three to four days after they have been infected, but symptoms can start any time between one and 14 days after ingesting the bacteria and can last up to two weeks.
Testing of samples from those who had fallen ill also indicated the strain of E coli 0157 was likely to have been imported, possibly from the Mediterranean.
PHE said people could help protect themselves from infection by washing their hands before handling food and eating, and by thoroughly washing vegetables and salads they were preparing to eat, unless these had been pre-prepared and were specifically labelled “ready to eat”.