Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Two E. coli O157:H7 illness clusters under scrutiny in Japan

Japan health authorities are dealing with two new clusters of E. coli O157:H7 infections.

The first involves a suspended grilled-meat restaurant in Yokohama, linked to the illnesses of a teenage girl and a man in his 80s who ate there on July 30.

The second involves a deli in the Saitama Prefecture and a potato salad product sold at the Shokusaikan Marche Kagohara supermarket in Kumagaya. The potato salad has sickened 14, including a 5-year-old girl who is in critical condition along with two others who are severely ill.

The supermarket’s deli — known as Derishasu Kagohara — purchased the potato salad from a food processing facility located outside the prefecture and then mixed it with cut pieces of ham and apples.

Kumagaya Public Health has ordered the deli closed for three days while it investigates the source of the E. coli infection and its distribution.

The investigation into the illness of a boy admitted to the Gunma Prefecture hospital on Aug. 14 led to the deli’s contamination. The deli appears to have sold the first suspect potato salad on Aug. 7-8, after which eight Saitama residents reported stomach pains.

Others, ages 7 to 12, were treated for diarrhea. The 5 year old has developed the kidney-threatening disease known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS.

The supermarket has apologized on its website for the food safety crisis. The potato salad distribution is apparently limited to the Gunma and Saitama prefectures. Businesses in Ota, Gunma apparently re-sold the bagged potato salad, also after mixing it with ham and apple pieces.

Health officials from the Takasaki Municipal government took salad samples for additional testing.

The teenage girl and man in his 80s both dined at the suspected restaurant on July 30 and both required hospitalization. Their O157 strain matched bacteria found in the suspended restaurant.

Investigation of the E. coli contamination in Japan includes both Takasaki Municipal government and the Saitama Prefectural Government.

Kumagaya is a city located in Saitama Prefecture, in the central Kantō region of Japan.

Yokohama is second to only to Tokyo as Japan’s largest city. It is the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu. It is a major commercial hub of the Greater Tokyo Area.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

© Food Safety News