E.Coli update: Raw sprouts still a danger

June 30, 2011

Public Health Command Region - Europe and the Europe Regional Medical Command

Due to continued E. coli cases being reported in Europe, U.S. military personnel in Europe should refrain from eating raw sprouts of any kind, following recommendations of the Public Health Command Region-Europe and Europe Regional Medical Command.

The rationale for this advisory is based upon German public health authorities reporting a strong association among the E. coli outbreak patients and consuming raw sprouts. 

Specific sources of the outbreak remain uncertain and have not been confirmed.

Raw tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuces from DoD approved sources within Europe will continue to re-enter the U.S. Government-sponsored commissaries and dining facilities throughout Europe as there is no known concern for these foods at this time.  

In general, the following precautions can be taken during preparation of fruits and vegetables to lower the risk of possible food contamination
and human infection: wash hands before and after preparing foods; wash all fruits and vegetables; avoid cross contamination of different foods;
keep storage temperatures low for food; and peel and cook fruit and vegetables to further remove microbes. If sprouts are eaten, it is
suggested that they be cooked until steaming hot throughout.

NOTE:  This is an advisory.  Individual Commands (DLA, DeCA, and AAFES) may make more restrictive directives than this advisory based on their situation.