Agency issues warning on salmonella contamination in basil

The Food Standards Agency is advising people who may have bought certain batches of fresh packets of basil from ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Somerfield stores not to eat them.

This is because of possible salmonella contamination, which can cause diarrhoea and sickness.

Some of the ‘display until’ and ‘best before’ dates on the affected packets will have expired and the product will have reached the end of its shelf life. The affected basil is also
labelled as ‘wash before use’.

However, it is possible that people may still have some affected batches at home. For example, they may have used the basil to make fresh pesto sauce or used it as an ingredient in other
uncooked foods. Also some people may have frozen the herb.

Sainsbury’s and Somerfield have informed the Agency that they have withdrawn all their potentially affected basil stocks with a best before date up to and including 28 May.

ASDA has told the agency that the only affected batches sold through its stores are those with a display until date up to and including 18 May.

Agency advice is that people who have bought basil from Sainsbury’s and Somerfield with a best before date up to and including 28 May should take it back to the store where they bought it.
People who bought basil from ASDA with a display until date up to and including 18 May should also return it to the store they bought it from.

The contamination came to light from a fresh herb survey being conducted by the Health Protection Agency and the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS).

All three supermarket chains have confirmed that none of the affected batches are still on sale in any of their UK stores.

The FSA is conducting further urgent investigations into the possible source of this problem, along the supply chain to ensure that no further contamination has occurred.

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