Source of German E.coli outbreak remains elusive

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Source of German E.coli outbreak remains elusive

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German officials claim it is too early to say whether a farm in Lower Saxony is the source of the recent deadly E. coli outbreak.

It had been reported at the weekend that organic bean sprouts grown at the farm in Bienenbuettel, northwest Germany carried the bacteria.

A spokesman for the region of Lower Saxony’s agriculture ministry said the farm had now been closed down and that all its products have been recalled as they await the final results.

The ministry has announced that of 40 samples taken so far, 23 had tested negative. It added that scientists are not expected to reach a conclusion in the short term.

The beansprout farm is 100 kilometres south of Hamburg where the majority of cases have been concentrated.

The rare strain of E. coli has killed 22 people – 21 Germans and one Swede – as well as making more than 2,200 people ill across Europe.

Initially, Germany wrongly blamed Spanish cucumbers for the outbreak. The cucumbers have since been given the all clear but farmers estimate they have lost more than 200 million euros a week as shoppers shun Spanish produce.

Spanish farmers are now seeking compensation for the losses they have incurred.