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Oh, No! U.S. Watercress Has A
Salmonella Problem In Ireland

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, January 12, 2007

Uh oh, now food safety problems in the U.S. produce industry are affecting our friends in Ireland. There has been a recall that Irish authorities believe can be traced to U.S. produced watercress.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland made an announcement of a Salmonella problem:

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today advised a product recall is being carried out on Florette branded Watercress 75g bag and Florette branded Spinach, Watercress & Rocket 130g bag ready-to-eat salads. Consumers are being asked to check the use by dates on these products if they purchased them from Irish retailers between Friday, 5th January and Wednesday, 10th January 2007. The products are being recalled due to the presence of Salmonella in some affected batches which presents a risk to consumers’ health.

The FSAI has contacted food business operators in Ireland known to have received the affected products to ensure they have been withdrawn from sale. The FSAI is continuing to monitor the withdrawal.

According to Mr. Jeffrey Moon, Chief Specialist Environmental Health, FSAI, consumers should not consume the affected product.

“These products have been widely available through retail stores throughout the country and we have concerns that the products could cause food poisoning if consumed. These products are ready-to-eat, so the risk posed is that the Salmonella would not be destroyed before consumption. Any consumer who has a bag of the affected product is advised to dispose of it or return it to the store where it was purchased. Consumers who may have already consumed these products and are feeling unwell, should seek medical advice,” says Mr. Moon.

The source of the contamination is thought to be the watercress which originated from the US , and was subsequently packaged and distributed to the Irish market by the UK company Florette, that initiated the withdrawal.

How do they know it was the U.S. produced watercress? And at what point did the watercress get salmonella on it? Who supplied the watercress? Is there a problem anywhere else with watercress? If any of our Irish readers can provide additional information, it is certainly appreciated.

One point this reminds us of is that we need science-based food safety standards so they will be respected around the world. It doesn’t take too many food safety outbreaks to cause markets to shut their doors.

Apologies from America to our readers in Ireland. We earnestly hope nobody falls ill.

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