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Initial Tests Say Sprouts Not Cause Of E. Coli Outbreak


The German authorities had originally blamed Spanish cucumbers for the outbreak.
European Union agriculture ministers have called an emergency meeting in Luxembourg as further tests today failed to find a clear cause of a deadly bacterial outbreak in Europe.

The meeting on June 7 is to focus upon the impact of the crisis on vegetable producers and possible compensation for their losses.

There are no official figures, but producers in Spain estimate they suffered losses of hundreds of millions of euros after the deadly E. coli outbreak originally was falsely blamed on cucumbers grown in Spain.

German agriculture officials, meanwhile, said today that initial test results suggest sprouts from an organic farm in northern Germany were not the cause of the E. coli outbreak.

German health authorities had said during the weekend that they were investigating beans sprouts and other vegetable sprouts grown at that farm as a possible source of the infection.

According to the latest figures from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the E. coli infection has killed 22 people and sickened 2,000.

All but one of the deaths occurred in Germany.

compiled from agency reports