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Bean sprouts again targeted as E. Coli carrier

Bean sprouts again targeted as E. Coli carrier

Bean sprouts have had a roller coaster week in the ongoing investigation into the source of E. Coli contamination which has claimed 31 lives and sickened 3,000 around the world.  After being identified as the source for contamination earlier in the week and then being exonerated, German officials have once again tapped bean sprouts as the likely source of the deadly strain of E. Coli.

Although no bean sprout samples have tested positive of E. Coli, Reinhard Burger, president of Germany’s national disease control center explained, “It was possible to narrow down epidemiologically the cause of the outbreak of the illness to the consumption of sprouts…It is the sprouts.” Elisabeth Rosenthal wrote earlier this week in The New York Times how, despite criticism of Germany’s response, it has traditionally been difficult to pinpoint the source of foodborne illness, and it only becomes more difficult as time passes.

The uncertainty over the source, coupled with accusations of German officials mishandling the investigation, has sparked rows between Germany and other European countries.  Russia blocked purchases of European vegetables because the actual source of the contamination was not pinpointed.  According to the Financial Times, the EU agreed to compensate Spanish farmers €210 million for the damage caused by an earlier mistaken identification of Spanish cucumbers as the source  of contamination.

Posted by Michael Lucivero.

Photo credit: Gero Breloer/AP Photo – ABC News