E.coli found in EU avocados

* Published: 10/06/2011 at 12:00 AM
* Newspaper section: News

Avocados imported from the European Union have been found to be contaminated with E.coli but it is not known yet if it is the same deadly strain that has claimed 27 lives in Europe, Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanavisit says.

A preliminary lab test at the Department of Medical Sciences showed that samples of avocados imported from Spain were contaminated with E.coli bacteria. Mr Jurin said it would take three to five days of further testing to confirm if they belong to the highly toxic O104 strain.

In the meantime, the health minister urged the public not to panic about the contamination since it is not unusual to find E.coli in fresh fruit and vegetables.

The results of lab tests on imported turnips and kohlrabi (German turnips) are expected to be released today, Mr Jurin said.

To avoid E.coli infections, the public health ministry advised the public to rinse fresh fruit and vegetables in running water for at least two minutes or keep them immersed in water with vinegar and salt. Boiled or poached vegetables are safe to eat since E.coli bacteria can be killed in heat of 70C.

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