Six die from E. coli in pickled cabbage in Hokkaido

August 18, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

SAPPORO--Six have died and more than 100 have fallen ill in Hokkaido as of Aug. 17 due to food poisoning caused by E. coli O-157 found in pickled cabbage.

Residents at nine nursing homes in Sapporo and elsewhere in Hokkaido account for the majority of cases, and five women in their 80s to 100s have died.

In Sapporo, a 4-year-old girl died on Aug. 11.

The food poisoning was attributed to lightly pickled Chinese cabbages shipped July 29-30 by a Sapporo-based food manufacturer. The Sapporo municipal health center said the raw ingredients may not have been sufficiently sterilized.

Cases of food poisoning from vegetables are much less common than those attributable to meat, fish and shellfish, but have occurred from time to time. Lightly pickled vegetables require more caution than other types of pickles because their manufacturing process involves no heating or fermentation that would kill bacteria, experts said.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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A food supermarket in Sapporo's Higashi Ward that carried the pickled Chinese cabbage responsible for the latest deadly E. coli O-157 outbreak posts a notice on Aug. 17 urging customers to go to a hospital in case of health concerns. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)

A food supermarket in Sapporo's Higashi Ward that carried the pickled Chinese cabbage responsible for the latest deadly E. coli O-157 outbreak posts a notice on Aug. 17 urging customers to go to a hospital in case of health concerns. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)

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  • A food supermarket in Sapporo's Higashi Ward that carried the pickled Chinese cabbage responsible for the latest deadly E. coli O-157 outbreak posts a notice on Aug. 17 urging customers to go to a hospital in case of health concerns. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)

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