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Curry leaves cause food poisoning

Posted in: Food Poisoning 

After more than 400 customers of the Street Spice event complained about food poisoning, an investigation has found that this was due to uncooked curry leaves.  With hundreds of people across Newcastle being affected following the three-day-event, held at the Centre for Life, a confirmed 29 individuals have contracted salmonella.  Public Health England (PHE) has said that this is the first time that one of the strains of salmonella has been identified in the UK. 

From the investigation, health experts found that uncooked curry leaves – found in the raw chutney – were contaminated by a multitude of different bacteria.  With such a vast number complaining about vomiting and diarrhoea, PHE has deemed it as one of the UK’s largest outbreaks of food poisoning.  Not only was salmonella traced and contracted, but also organisms including E.coli and Shigella were found and could have caused illnesses. 

Lack of clear information

Despite the severity of the outbreak, Newcastle City Council has opted against taking formal action. After they “carefully considered” the situation, believing that the outcome was due to a lack of advice about the use of curry leaves. Steven Savage, director of regulation and public protection, said: “We have recommended to the Food Standards Agency that they should develop information to be circulated nationally about the preparation of curry leaves and other herbs.” A total of around 12,000 people attended the event, which brought together an array of vendors and suppliers of spicy foods from around the area. 

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