Frozen strawberries have sickened over 11,200 people, sending 32 of them to the hospital. And the kicker? Most of these people were children. The contaminated strawberries were in foods served in schools and daycare centers -- where the most vulnerable to food poisoning are.
11,000! That's huge. Usually when there's a recall notice, it turns out only a handful of people, if that, have gotten sick. But this wasn't even a recall, just a horrible contamination outbreak. I'll give you one guess which country these berries came from ...
The frozen strawberries came from China, which is the world's largest exporter of strawberries. The contamination outbreak happened in Germany, so it looks like we're safe from this particular incident. But what are the chances we'll eventually get hit with contaminated strawberries here, too?
The food distributor, Sodexo, bought the contaminated strawberries from China. And Sodexo is huge here in the U.S., too -- they supply major restaurant chains and school systems. So that's scary. The berries were used for desserts, and apparently weren't heated enough when they were thawed. The noroviruses are resistant to both cold and heat. It's hard to kill off those little buggers!
What with arsenic in apple juice and melamine in baby formula, why is anyone buying food from China? Because it's cheap, that's why. And because we want to keep eating strawberries even in the middle of autumn. Sheesh! One more reason to stay local and seasonal as much as I can, especially with non-essential "fun" foods like strawberries.
Did you even know China grows and exports strawberries?
Image via Rewards4 life/Flickr