Fruit and veg imports behind rise in food poisoning

An increasing number of Swedes suffer food poisoning after eating imported fruit and vegetables. The National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket) reveals that waste water used to grow the produce is to blame.

Fruit and veg imports behind rise in food poisoning

Since the middle of the 1990’s the number of Swedes suffering food poisoning has increased threefold. Over the same period imports of fruit and vegetables have increased by 60 percent, according to a report in Sydsvenska Dagbladet.

The administration has urged both producers and importers of fruit and vegetables to demand higher standards for the quality of the water used to water the produce.

The most risky produce from a food hygiene perspective are frozen raspberries, followed by sprouts and leaf vegetables, Sydsvenskan reports.

New culinary trends in Sweden have also contributed to the increase in cases of food poisoning with, for example, mint and banana leaves becoming a a common feature when serving food.

Despite the increase in cases of food poisoning the National Food Administration was quick to underline the importance of consuming sufficient quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Roland Lindqvist, a microbiologist at the authority pointed out to the newspaper that simply by washing the produce thoroughly prior to cooking or eating would remove at least 90 percent of any existing bacteria.


What reopens in Switzerland on Monday and under what conditions?

Monday April 27th marks the beginning of the partial lifting of the lockdown restrictions in Switzerland that have been in force for the past six weeks. Certain sectors will be resuming their activities under strict protection measures.

What reopens in Switzerland on Monday and under what conditions?
Dental offices are now open. Photo by AFP

Medical services

Dentists are starting to practice again. The Swiss Dental Association (SSO) has developed, in collaboration with cantonal doctors, reinforced hygiene measures, in addition to those already commonly practiced, such wearing of face shields and disinfection of all instruments and equipment.

“Hygiene standards that were already very strict in normal times have been reinforced and supplemented by additional measures such as the triage of patients at risk and social distancing in the waiting room”, the SSO said.

Hygiene and distance rules will also be in effect at veterinarian clinics, which are re-opening as well. According to the Society of Swiss Veterinarians (SVS), pet owners will have to hand their animal over to the staff outside the office and collect it at the exit. 

READ MORE: What protective measures will Switzerland implement after lockdown ? 

Osteopaths, physiotherapists, and massage therapists

These professionals are also resuming their practice. Physioswiss, the Swiss Physiotherapy Association, advises its members to wear a mask, while the Swiss Federation of Osteopaths makes it compulsory.

Massage therapist are required to wear masks as well.

As for clients, they are mandated to wear them if each individual business requires it.

Hairdressers, beauticians/nail salons, tattoo parlours

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) have created a set of guidelines for these sectors. Each branch may have its own additional protections in place as well.

All of these businesses also have strict conditions regarding the number of people accommodated simultaneously in the office and in the waiting room.

The appointments must be staggered, with a sufficient time interval between them. No more than one person should be in the waiting room at any time; the distance of at least two metres must be maintained between clients and between employees.

Both the worker and the customer must wear a protective mask. For services that require proximity to the clients, such as facial treatments or beard trimming, the employee must also wear a plexiglass visor.

The Swiss Association of Professional Tattoo Artists (ASTP) is asking its members to wear a mask type FFP2, which protects both the wearer and the person in front. For the client, a surgical mask is sufficient. The organisation also describes a series of disinfection measures and requests that the workplaces be well separated, for example with a curtain.

Florists, garden centres, hardware stores

All these stores will allow only a limited number of customers to enter the premises — one person per 10 square-metres of sales area. Special waiting areas will be provided outside, where distance can be respected.

Once inside, guidelines call for markings on the ground to guarantee a minimum distance of two metres between clients.

Customers will be asked to pay by ‘contactless’ forms of payment, as personal credit and debit cards are more hygienic than cash, which is handled by many people.

In addition, cash registers will be fitted with plexiglass protections.

These businesses can only sell flowers, plants and construction equipment, according to the ordinance of the Federal Council. They are prohibited from selling other products such as toys or leisure utensils.

READ MORE: Switzerland opens spas, saunas and bars in hotels despite coronavirus lockdown