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E Coli

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 8 April 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department has spent on reducing the chances of an E. coli outbreak in the last three years. (325828)

As humans may be infected by E. coli O157 through a variety of routes there are several different Government Departments that contribute to reducing the chances of an outbreak. Humans may become infected when they consume contaminated food or water, by direct or indirect contact with animals that carry E. coli O157 or from exposure to an environment contaminated with animals’ faeces, such as farms and similar premises with animals which are open to the public.

The costs of reducing the chances of both foodborne and non-foodborne E. coli O157 outbreaks are contained within the core budgets of the Department of Health, Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and are not separately identifiable. For example, the FSA does not collect data on the amount of spend that can be assigned to E. coli official controls in isolation from other official controls on the microbiological safety of food. In addition to core funding, both DEFRA and the FSA fund research to enhance our understanding of human infection caused by E. coli O157.