Food processing plant probed over potato salad linked E. coli poisoning in Saitama, Gunma

Kyodo

The city government of Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, has conducted on-site inspections at a food processing plant after potato salad produced there caused an outbreak of E. coli food poisoning, city officials said Wednesday.

The inspections came as 10 people in Gunma and Saitama prefectures who had eaten the salad were found to have been infected with the O-157 strain of the bacteria, including a 5-year-old girl who became gravely ill and temporarily lost consciousness.

During inspections conducted on Monday and Wednesday, officials looked into manufacturing processes at the plant, which shipped tainted potato salad that found its way to delicatessens in Gunma and Saitama prefectures, according to the city.

Officials also took samples of the salad made during the same period as the contaminated food to conduct further tests.

The operator of the businesses based in Ota, Gunma, sold bagged potato salad shipped from the plant after mixing it with ham and apple pieces, according to the Saitama Prefectural Government.

A total of 14 people who ate potato salad purchased on Aug. 7 or 8 have complained of stomach aches or other symptoms, and the bacteria was detected in 10 of the people suffering symptoms.

The 5-year-old girl developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, becoming critically ill. In addition to the girl, a 4-year-old boy and a 60-year-old woman also became seriously ill with all three being hospitalized, where they are recovering, the prefectural government said Tuesday.