Last updated on 3 November 2011
Salmonella contamination of paan leaves
The Food Standards Agency is warning people about the potential risk of salmonella food poisoning from paan leaves, also known as betel leaves.
Since August, a high proportion of consignments of paan leaves imported into the UK from Bangladesh and India have tested positive for salmonella. Salmonella causes diarrhoea and vomiting, and can lead to serious illness in vulnerable people. Currently, no cases of illness associated with this product have been reported in the UK.
The FSA has asked local authorities at UK ports and airports to sample and test all consignments of paan leaves presented for import. The results show high levels of contamination, which could be a risk to health given that paan leaves are consumed raw. Paan is often chewed raw as a palate cleanser or to aid digestion.
The Bangladeshi and Indian High Commissions in London have also been contacted to ask their authorities to investigate the cause and source of the contamination.