Saturday, June 4, 2011


There is now some speculation that the huge outbreak of super-toxic E.coli in Europe may not have originated at the farm level after all. And, it may not be linked to imported produce - such as cucumbers. In fact, the outbreak could have been "home-grown" in Northern Germany itself, maybe originating at the Hamburg Port Festival. The beautiful festival took place at the beginning of May. That timing sounds just about right. It was attended by about 1.5 million people - both tourists and locals.

The possibility is being investigated. Certainly at least some of the victims attended the event. And reportedly several of them ate at a popular local restaurant called the Kartoffel-Keller - "The Potato Cellar" in English. It is a charming Hamburg restaurant with outdoor tables and vines - straight out of a tourist brochure. The photo is of one of their potato pies. The owner is clearly upset, to put it mildly.

I assume that we'll find out in the next few days whether all of the victims ate there (except for those who caught it second-hand from other people). They are no doubt being questioned right now. But it's possible. And it may not have been the restaurant's fault. If you look at my post of earlier today on E.coli 0157:H7 recalls of the past few months in the U.S., you will see that at least two of the contaminated meat recalls were of ground meat distributed to restaurants only. That is, the distributor sent the restaurant contaminated food. As I say in The Safe Food Handbook, restaurant food tends to be less safe.

Was the source even salad? Or was it potatoes? Or meat? Or, sprouts?

To your good health!


Anonymous said...

Claasic understatement. The owner is "upset". If he has triggered the greatest food panic in Europe for the last 10 years, it's the least he could be. did he not wash the sprouts? Again, as the blog says, it highlights the dangers of eating out.

Anonymous said...

A conumdrum. First we are told to eat salads since they are healthy. Now we are told that they are dangerous, especially when eating out. What to do? Just eat salads at home?