Update on E.Coli: Scientists ‘Find EHEC Bacteria at Sprout Farm’
Is this the breakthrough? According to SPIEGEL ONLINE information, scientists have finally managed to prove that the pathogens that caused a deadly E. coli epidemic in Germany were found on sprouts at a farm in Lower Saxony. Authorities are still puzzled as to how the deadly bacteria got there.
Health authorities in Germany have finally been able to show that the pathogens which caused the deadly EHEC outbreak came from sprouts at an organic farm in the Uelzen district. According to SPIEGEL ONLINE information, the breakthrough was made by scientists in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Final verification, however, is still pending.
As of Friday it remained unclear how the dangerous bacteria came to be present at the farm.
Even before this latest discovery, all the evidence had pointed to the farm in the state of Lower Saxony as the probable cause of the epidemic which has so far killed 29 people. Authorities had warned against eating raw sprouts. “It’s the sprouts”, the president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Reinhard Burger, said in a press conference convened in Berlin on Friday.
At the same time, the authorities lifted the warning against eating raw cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce. This was announced by the RKI — Germany’s center for disease control — as well as the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in a joint press conference.
The bodies had come to the conclusion that the existing “general recommendation to refrain from consuming cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce in northern Germany should no longer be maintained.” Health Minister Daniel Bahr was forced to once again defend issuing the recommendation in the first place: “The warning was right,” Bahr said at the press conference in Berlin. “The inquiry alone would not have been able to focus on the sprouts.”
The only warning still in place now is against eating raw sprouts, potentially one of the most hazardous foods around and a haven for germs. The German government has also recommended that households and businesses providing food destroy any sprouts they have already bought, and any other food which may have come into contact with them. In addition, hygiene rules should be strictly followed.
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