In 2010, 7/44 (16%) reported foodborne outbreaks in Finland were linked with raw beetroot consumption. We reviewed data from the national outbreak registry in order to hypothesize the aetiology of illness and to prevent further outbreaks. In the seven outbreaks, 124 cases among 623 respondents were identified. Consumption of raw beetroot was strongly associated with gastrointestinal illness (relative risk 8·99, 95% confidence interval 6·06–13·35). The illness was characterized by sudden onset of gastrointestinal symptoms; the median incubation time was 40 min and duration of illness 5 h. No common foodborne pathogens or toxins were found in either clinical or beetroot samples, but all tested beetroot samples were of poor quality according to total bacterial counts. Beta-haemolytic Pseudomonas fluorescens was detected in several beetroot samples but its effect on human health is unknown. No outbreaks were reported after the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira advised against serving raw beetroot in institutional canteens.