Homegrown outbreak

The German authorities are now almost certain that the E.coli outbreak that has left 22 people dead originated in beansprouts grown in Lower Saxony, northern Germany.

The beansprouts include adzuki, alfalfa, broccoli peas, lentils and mung beans, all grown in the nursery for consumption in salads and are obviously easily confused with Spanish cucumbers.

The nursery in question has now been closed, although officials say the outbreak’s source cannot yet be definitively confirmed, and Germans are being advised to stop eating beansprouts.

More than 2,150 people in Germany have been infected by enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) bacteria and many have developed haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS), which can be fatal. Twenty-one of the fatalities have been in Germany and one other in Sweden.

There may well be some red faces in the German Government after they crippled the Spanish horticultural industry for no proven reason.

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