Bean sprouts possible source for E. coli outbreak

Bean sprouts possible source for E. coli outbreakBerlin, June 6 - German authorities said bean sprouts might be the "most convincing" source for the E. coli outbreak that has led to the death of 22 people and infected over 2,000 in Europe, Xinhua reported.

Gert Lindemann, agriculture minister of the state of Lower Saxony, said restaurants and food outlets where cases of E. coli were reported all had received shipments of particular bean sprouts.

A related company in Uelzen region has been shut down and its products have been recalled, he said.

"It is the most convincing source for the E. coli outbreak," Lindemann said.

Although a conclusive laboratory analysis will not come out till Monday, current indications were strong enough to issue a public warning, he said.

Authorities have been trying to track down the source of the pathogen that has infected people in 12 countries - all of whom had once travelled to Germany.

More than 600 of those infected have developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a potentially deadly complication of the kidneys.

The source of E. coli was first thought to be cucumbers from Spain, which caused huge loss for Spanish farmers. However, this conclusion was overthrown by laboratory tests in Hamburg. (IANS)