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Friday, June 10, 2011

Germany lifts warning on produce as likely E. coli source identified

Via DW World :

" Contaminated sprouts are the likely source behind the E. coli outbreak that has killed 30 people since May, according to German health officials. The warning on cucumbers and other produce has been lifted.

Sprouts are to blame for the E. coli outbreak that has killed 30 and sickened nearly 3,000 since May, the head of Germany's federal infectious disease laboratory announced Friday.

Reinhard Burger, president of the Robert Koch Institute, said even though no tests of the sprouts from a farm in Lower Saxony had come back positive, the epidemiological investigation has produced enough evidence to draw a conclusion.

"It is the sprouts," Burger told reporters at a press conference in Berlin.

Burger added that people who had consumed the contaminated sprouts were nine times more likely to have bloody diarrhea than those who did not.

The organization has rescinded its warning to consumers to avoid cucumbers, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, but Germans are still cautioned to avoid eating sprouts.

"The outbreak is not over," Burger said.

An expensive mistake

Spain had threatened to sue Germany over allegations against its cucumbersThe false alarms have had a negative impact on vegetable farmers across Europe and soured diplomatic relations with Germany's neighbors."

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