Sprouts identified (again) as E. coli culprit

by Keith Nunes
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BERLIN — After initially backing away from the claim sprouts grown at a farm in northern Germany may be the source of the E. coli outbreak that has made hundreds ill, German public health officials reconfirmed on June 10 that sprouts from the farm may be the source and recommended that consumers should not eat raw sprouts, no matter what the source. At the same time, German officials lifted the recommendation that consumers not eat cucumbers, tomatoes or leaf lettuce from northern Germany.

Public health officials also have issued a recall of all products produced at the farm where the suspect sprouts were grown. They said that even though no evidence of the pathogen responsible for the outbreak can be confirmed on the farm to date, the amount of substantial evidence that has accumulated in the meantime is so incriminating that the federal institutions and state authorities must assume that the outbreak started there.

The reason it has been recommended that consumers not eat raw sprouts is because investigators believe the E. coli O104:H4 pathogen has entered the supply chain. To date, it has not been possible for public health officials to detect contamination in any foods on the market, and it has not been possible to identify the entrance of the pathogen into the food chain.

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