According to Barfblog, the UK Food Standards Agency has identified at least 19 people sick with E. coli O157:H7 linked to UK watercress. Sainsbury’s has recalled all watercress containing products because of a possible link and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland is checking whether watercress is linked to 17 cases of E. coli O157:H7 in the past month.

In South Africa (where I will be in a few weeks) doctors have put out a health warning against watercress after a Plettenberg Bay chef died from a rare parasitic disease last seen in South Africa 50 years ago.  Another woman, a 73-year-old pensioner from Nature’s Valley in the Eden District, who also contracted the disease after eating raw organically grown watercress, has since recovered.  The disease, commonly known as liver rot, is so rare in South Africa that medication had to be flown in from the United States to treat the two women.  The watercress was bought at farm stalls in Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley on the Garden Route.  Only three cases of human fascioliasis, or liver rot, have been diagnosed in South Africa previously, the last one in 1964.

So much for watercress.