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Italian Authorities Investigate Botulism Outbreak
Ten people have been hospitalised and another hundred suspected cases are under investigation following an outbreak of botulism thought to be linked with Genoese Basil Sauce manufactured by Bruzzone and Ferrari in Italy. Over 14,000 jars of the pesto have been withdrawn by the manufacturers pending a full investigation by Italian authorities which could lead to prosecutions under Italy’s food laws with the charge of ‘unintentional injuries’. Eight of the people admitted to hospital have subsequently been discharged while the remaining two are still under observation. Samples have been sent to the Ministry of Food in Rome for analysis and will inform Prosecutor Stefano Puppo if any further action is necessary.
Paolo Cremonesi Head of the Galliera Hospital in Genoa where the patients were treated thinks the situation could have been a lot worse if the manufacturers hadn’t started to withdraw the product immediately when the problem was suspected. “Fortunately, the Genoese company has sounded the alarm in time,” said Cremonesi, “Otherwise poisoning would have been much more extensive.” The batch of product implicated in the outbreak contains the coding G03 Lot 13 with a use by date of August 9 2013. This is the latest in a number of food scares in Italy with 268 being recorded in the first six months of 2013 compared to a 12 month total of 517 last year.