Health alert:
Date Issued:
23 Jan 2012
Issued by:
Chief Health Officer
Issued to:

Two commonly used types of salad sprouts have tested positive to high levels of bacteria E. coli in Victoria.

Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Rosemary Lester has advised consumers should not eat Gippsland Sprouts Co Salad Sprouts - Alfalfa, Onion and Mung Beans; and Flowerdale Farm Alfalfa Salad Sprouts - Alfalfa, Onion and Mung Beans, both with a use by date of January 23.

Both alfalfa products were sold in 120g plastic clam shape packets at small grocery stores and green grocers from 5 January and at the Footscray Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable market.

The company found high levels of E. coli during routine testing and is conducting a recall of these products through Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

Consumers are advised to dispose of these products.

What is E. coli?

Escherichia coli (commonly abbreviated E. coli) is a Gram-negative bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans. Symptoms of E. coli infection can include stomach cramps and pain, vomiting and diarrhoea and fever.Most people infected by E. coli recover within 7 to 10 days but can be infectious for one to two weeks after they have recovered. In severe cases, people can develop haemolytic uremic syndrome, a disease that affects the kidneys and other organs

Anyone who has consumed these products and exhibits any of these symptoms should consult a doctor.

How can you protect yourself and your family from an E. coli infection?

All foods can become contaminated with E. coli if proper food safety measures are not followed however there are many things you can do to protect yourself from an E. coli infection:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water before and after handling food, using the bathroom, or changing your baby’s nappy.
  • Clean and sanitize utensils, cutting boards and benches often
  • Have separate cutting boards for raw meat, vegetables and cooked foods
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating (even the ones you peel or those that are “prewashed”)
  • Drink only pasteurized milk
  • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.

Further information

Further information relating to preventing food poisoning go to:

Yours sincerely

Dr Rosemary Lester Acting Chief Health Officer