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Frozen Strawberries Blamed for 11,000 German Illnesses

Frozen strawberries are “very likely” the cause of food poisoning that sickened more than 11,000 students in almost 500 schools and day care centers, mostly in eastern areas of Germany, during the last week.

The Robert Koch Institute, which investigates infectious diseases and outbreaks for the German Health Ministry, reported on a “strong and statistically significant link” between the illnesses and consumption of food products made with a shipment of frozen strawberries.

The shipment came from a subcontractor to Sodexo, the private company providing food and beverage services to the schools and day care centers. Sodexo is promising to compensate victims and in the future it would select suppliers “even more rigorously.”

For more than 11,000 sickened students, including at least 32 who required hospitalization, contaminated frozen strawberries brought on both diarrhea and vomiting.

In addition to the Robert Koch Institute, a government task force has been set up to continue the investigation into what is now Germany’s largest incident of food poisoning.

© Food Safety News
  • Evidently, the strawberries were from China. 

    • Oginikwe

      That would hardly be a surprise if that’s the case.

  • Pedro

    Hello my friends Why that incidents are near or from the transgenics crops and agrochemicals? coincidence or mutations like superweeds ,superbugs and others registers

  • I have seen frozen produce from china being sold in Whole Foods for a whole lot of money.  Remember to ALWAYS read the ingredient & country of origin labels on everything you buy, no matter WHERE you buy it from.  Even if you are familiar with the brand, especially if it’s produce, you have to remember that each lot can come from a different place than the last bag you bought.

  • husna

    Whatever the case of the outbreak, one thing should be very clear to our audience. Schools and day care centers are not the place for accepting food from “unauthorized sources” as the practice is not worth the liability to the children.

    Compensating the victims is not the solution to the problem. School boards need to question their food suppliers, and not rely on third party food certifications. Year after year, they need to not blindly accept a supplier because they are comfortable working with them or due to “fraternization” among the organizations.  A new course of action should be charted to prevent future tragedies from occuring. 

    A “very likely” source of food contamination does not have to originate from a country thousands of miles away. If the strawberries were indeed the likely culprit, it is very much possible for it to have undergone time-temperature abuse during storage at the distribution facility/transportation, and it is the “most likely” reason for this outbreak from my perspective.

  • Qdlzh Liuwei

    a) haven’t found the source of disease – most likely norovirus?
    b) haven’t found any virus/microbiology problems on any frozen strawberry samples – most likely the disease is from frozen strawberry?
    c) the batch of frozen strawberries were most likely from China, again most likely?
    d) now we have got a name ‘China Qingdao Keji Food Company Ltd.’ from ministry of agricultrual, but this company does not exist in this world.