UK Recalls 60 Pre-Packaged Food Items Amid E. Coli Outbreak, What is E. Coli?
UK Recalls 60 Pre-Packaged Food Items Amid E. Coli Outbreak, What is E. Coli?

In the UK, three major suppliers have recalled 60 types of pre-packed sandwiches, wraps, and salads due to fears of E. coli contamination. This action follows reports of over 200 E. coli cases in recent weeks, with 42% of those affected requiring hospitalization.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) described the recall as a precautionary measure. Companies like Greencore Group and Samworth Brothers Manton Wood have taken similar steps, recalling at least 60 pre-packed items sold in major supermarkets.

E. coli, short for Escherichia coli, is a bacterium found in the intestines of humans and animals. While many strains are harmless, others can cause serious foodborne illnesses.

E. coli STEC O145: The Strain Behind the Outbreak
The strain responsible for the current outbreak in the UK is E. coli STEC O145, which produces Shiga toxin. This toxin can cause severe foodborne illnesses, with symptoms including stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. In serious cases, it can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a condition that can cause kidney failure. The infection usually spreads through contaminated food or water, particularly undercooked meat and unpasteurized products.

Understanding E. coli: Symptoms and Treatment
E. coli bacteria can vary from harmless to dangerous. The STEC O145 strain produces a toxin that damages the gut lining, leading to severe illness.


  • Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever
  • Vomiting

Symptoms usually appear a few days after infection. Most people recover without medical treatment, but young children and those with underlying health conditions can become seriously ill. In severe cases, complications like HUS can occur, damaging the kidneys.

There is no specific treatment for E. coli infections. Most people can manage the illness at home with rest and plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. If symptoms are severe or concerning, medical help should be sought.

Preventive Measures

To reduce the risk of E. coli infection, follow these guidelines:

  • Wash hands regularly with warm water and soap.
  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook food to recommended temperatures.
  • Avoid preparing food for others if experiencing symptoms.
  • Stay away from hospitals or care homes if symptomatic.
  • Avoid work, school, or nursery until 48 hours after symptoms have ceased.

The recent recalls highlight the critical importance of food safety and hygiene in preventing the spread of harmful bacteria. Consumers are urged to follow food safety guidelines and pay attention to product recalls to minimize the risk of E. coli infection.


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