According to Eurosurveillance, from September through October 2012, the largest recorded foodborne outbreak in Germany occurred.
Norovirus was identified as the causative agent.
Overall, there were nearly 11,000 cases of gastroenteritis.
The outbreaks occurred predominantly at schools and childcare facilities and were supplied almost exclusively by one large catering company. The analytical epidemiological studies consistently identified dishes containing strawberries as the most likely vehicle.
All affected institutions had received strawberries of one lot, imported frozen from China.
The outbreak vehicle was identified within a week, which led to a timely recall and prevented more than half of the lot from reaching the consumer.
The outbreak exemplifies the risk of large outbreaks in the era of global food trade.
It underlines the importance of timely surveillance and epidemiological outbreak investigations for food safety.