§ Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the source of a recent outbreak of dysentery was caused by Iceberg lettuce imported from Spain, as reported by the Communicable Diseases Surveillance Centre; and
What assurances they can give that there will be no further outbreaks of dysentery cause by Iceberg lettuce imported Spain.65WA
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberledge)
The Communicable Disease Report of 24 June reported an increase in cases of dysentery due to Shigella sonnei infection in adults in England and Wales in late May and early June.
Similar outbreaks thought to be associated with eating Iceberg lettuce have been reported in Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany. All outbreaks have coincided with this year's Spanish Iceberg lettuce season. No link, however, with Spanish lettuce has been conclusively established.
The European Commission has alerted all member states to this potential problem. Reassurance is being sought from the Spanish authorities before next season's crop of Iceberg lettuce is exported in October.