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German-grown beansprouts could be the source of the deadly E. coli outbreak that has killed 22 people, made more than 2,200 ill and led Russia to bar EU fruit and vegetable imports, officials said.
The Lower Saxony state agriculture minister, Gert Lindemann, told a news conference investigators had traced the rare, highly toxic strain of the bacteria to a farm in the Uelzen district. Media reports said the farm was near the town of Bienenbuettel, 70km south of Hamburg.
Health facilities in Hamburg, Germany's second city and the centre of the outbreak that began three weeks ago, are struggling to cope with the flood of victims, health minister Daniel Bahr said.
Mr Lindemann, speaking after three weeks of mysterious deaths and widespread consumer fears linked to the rare strain of E.coli, said there appeared to be clear links between vegetables from the farm and food eaten by some victims.
"We've got a really hot lead," Mr Lindemann said, reporting on the investigation into a health scare that has strained ties between two EU members and led prime minister Vladimir Putin to say he would not "poison" Russians by lifting an embargo on EU fruit and vegetable imports.
Mr Lindemann said that not only beansprouts, but also alfalfa sprouts, mung bean sprouts, radish sprouts and arugula sprouts from the farm might be connected to the outbreak. Raw sprouts are popular among Germans and often mixed in salads or added to sandwiches.
E coli outbreak linked to bean sprouts, says German minister - Many of restaurants involved had deliveries from factory in Uelzen, a town in Lower Saxony in north Germany
German bean sprouts were yesterday identified as the likely source of the E coli outbreak that has killed 22 people, caused chaos among Europe's vegetable growers and sparked a diplomatic row between Russia and the EU.
The state of Lower Saxony issued an urgent warning to stop eating bean sprouts on Sunday as it believes them to be the link between all the restaurants and food outlets in the outbreak. "We've a very strong lead linking a bean sprout company to the cases of E coli infection," said Gerd Lindemann, the state's agricultural minister.
Many of the restaurants in the outbreak had the sprouts delivered from Uelzen, a town in Lower Saxony in north Germany. A factory there produces 18 sorts of sprouts, from alfalfa and aduki bean sprouts, to sprouts from radish and sunflower seeds. Their cultivation in large steam drums at 38C creates ideal conditions for various types of bacteria to grow.
However, Lindemann also said, consumers should also continue to avoid raw cucumbers, tomatoes and salad leaves, as advised by Germany's main health body, the Robert Koch Institute.
Originally posted by periloustimes
reply to post by Chevalerous
nice find but is it just me or does ecoli come from ANIMALS stomachs ??????? just pointing it out lol....
Originally posted by dreamingawake
I can see why beansprouts would be suspected. I've asked for them in grocery stores and sandwich shops, and the often reply would be; we don't have those because of the e. coli risks associated as a 'raw' product. That's just in the last ten years or so.
German farm under scrutiny over E.coli
Authorities await test results over farm allegedly linked to outbreak of deadly bacteria that has killed 22 people.
A German farm is facing an inquiry over the outbreak of E.coli that has killed 22 people, after officials said bean sprouts could be behind the crisis.
Authorities have shut the Gaertnerhof Bienenbuettel farm, which lies 70km south of Hamburg, and recalled produce, while test results are expected later on Monday.
But Klaus Verbeck, the managing director of the farm, has said he cannot understand the accusations levelled at the centre.
"I can't understand how the processes we have here and the accusations could possibly fit together," he told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung paper on Monday.
"The salad sprouts are grown only from seeds and water, and they aren't fertilised at all. There aren't any animal fertilisers used in other areas on the farm either."
Locals have also expressed shock that the farm could be responsible for the bacteria, which has left around 2,000 people ill across Europe.
Sibylle Lange, a neighbour, told the Reuters news agency that the accusations had "deeply affected" people in the community.
"These are very serious, hardworking people who were very early producers of organic products," Lange said.
"They've been working here for some 30 years. It's a high-quality product. I've eaten all sorts of vegetables from here - bean sprouts included - and they taste delicious. I
can't imagine the source could come from here."
Officials in Lower Saxony believe that raw bean sprouts were the likely cause of the ongoing E. coli epidemic in Germany.
Sprouts from a farm in the western German state had been eaten by many of the people infected with the deadly bacteria. However, final results of tests are first expected Monday afternoon.
The produce in question had been delivered by a farm in the Uelzen district to restaurants and stores linked to the outbreak. Two women at the company, which sells a variety of sprouts meant for raw consumption, have since fallen ill with diarrhea -- and one has been diagnosed with an E. coli infection. Operations have been suspended at the farm pending further test results.
According to the Lower Saxony Agriculture Ministry, the company cultivates 18 types of sprouts in barrels at a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), and waters them with steam. "Those are also optimal conditions for the germ of all germs," Lindemann said. Authorities don't yet know how the sprouts could have been contaminated, but they were not fertilized with manure as some had speculated. Other possibilities could include contaminated water or seeds delivered from abroad, Lindemann said.
Farm manager Klaus Verbeck told the daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung he could not explain how the pathogen could have tainted his products because no animal fertilizers are used there. "Not even horn meal," he said, referring to a fertilizer made from animal horns and hooves.
This particular e.coli variation is a member of the O104 strain, and O104 strains are almost never (normally) resistant to antibiotics. In order for them to acquire this resistance, they must be repeatedly exposed to antibiotics in order to provide the "mutation pressure" that nudges them toward complete drug immunity.
German E.coli tests unlikely to finish soon - ministry
BERLIN, June 6 (Reuters) - Test results on German bean sprouts suspected to have caused an E.coli outbreak are unlikely to be concluded in the short term, the Lower Saxony state agriculture ministry said on Monday.
Of 40 samples tested so far 23 had tested negative for the bacteria. The other were still being tested.
COLDIRETTI REPORTS 100 MILLION DAMAGES CAUSED BY E. COLI
(AGI) Rome - Coldiretti has reported that losses cause by E.Coli in the Italian food sector may amount to 100 million euros due to a fal in exports and consumption in Italy, the effects of which are sadly expected to continue in the near future. Coldiretti provided data i view of an EU summit of Minister of Agriculture to be held tomorrow in Luxembourg to address the serious consequences suffered by European producers . .
German Farmers Hit Hard by E. Coli Outbreak
Vegetable farmers in Germany are losing up to 5 million euros a day as a result of the E. coli scare which has gripped the country. Even though lettuce and other produce from many farms has been given a clean bill of health, consumers and retailers have stopped buying greens.
Rudolf Behr says that it's easy enough to prove the cleanliness of his vegetables. Just take a look at his staff: Every day, they take home some of his produce. "If there were anything to this, we'd be up to our ears in diarrhea here."
His workers from Poland and Romania are doing great, says Behr -- except for the fact that he has hardly any more work for them. For almost two weeks now, he hasn't been able to move any of his produce. At the distribution center, palettes of wilting, brown lettuce are stacked in the sun. Due to the E. coli crisis, the vegetable grower is now losing €250,000 ($365,000) -- each day.
Behr is standing in one of his fields near Seevetal, south of Hamburg. The farmer is accompanied by a camera crew. He pulls a leaf off a head of iceberg lettuce in the field and bites into it. "How is E. coli supposed to get in there?" he asks. The lettuce has never been treated with manure, he says. Even on his organic fields in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, he only spreads manure before planting, he adds. Under a film that absorbs UV light, he admits, this kind of bacteria could pose a certain danger. But Behr cultivates only open fields. "Under these conditions, the light of the sun would kill a pathogen within two hours."
Behr has a stack of paper in his car: Dozens of new laboratory samples have been taken of his produce in the search for the E. coli pathogens. They all came back negative. This evidence has no impact, though. The grower will lose 40 hectares (99 acres) of iceberg lettuce -- 2.4 million heads. Now, he is not even bothering to harvest many of his fields, so he can later plow under the wilted lettuce.
No cross contaminations.
There is no contamination with fecal matter (or possible related infections) as one might expect from a E.coli infection. In fact, Germany, which has a large number of cases, has one of the best food safety and inspection programs on Earth. Normally E.coli infections are spread by feces contaminating food and can also be spread from person to person via the faecal-oral route due to poor hygiene. So far these do not appear to be primary vectors for the disease and in fact the primary vector is unknown at present.